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Matthew Caldwell, Concord native, shot and killed in Philippines, where he was well-known rescue diver

A Concord native and Bishop Brady High School graduate was killed last week in the Philippines.

Matthew Caldwell was a member of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxillary and rose to national prominence last August, when he was part of the team that retrieved the remains of a government official from a plane crash over open water.

Friends who posted tributes to Caldwell online identified him as a 1972 graduate of Bishop Brady High School.

His sister Mary Caldwell said in an email that she and her brother’s children were in Manila until next weekend.

According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Caldwell, 59, was shot late Thursday night at the gates of the Hamilton Heights Subdivision in Las Piñas City after allegedly getting into an argument with the village security guard over association dues.

The leader of the local police investigative unit told the Inquirer that the subdivision told the guards not to provide services to residents who hadn’t paid a monthly fee. When the guard refused to open the gate to let Caldwell and his partner, Jeanelyn Flora, 36, drive onto the property, Caldwell got out of his car to open it himself.

According to a report, the guard allegedly shot Caldwell then fled the scene. The latest reports from the Philippines indicate the guard has not been seen since.

Caldwell had lived in the Philippines for 20 years, and worked as a businessman and technical diver.

He received an award from Philippine President Benigno Aquino for his role in the search for the body of Department of the Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, according to the Inquirer. Robredo died when the plane he was riding in crashed in deep water a mile off the shore of the island of Masbate on Aug. 18, 2012.

Caldwell also took part in the search for and retrieval of the bodies of more than 20 passengers who died on board the sunken wood-hulled passenger ship Catalyn B, when it collided with a steel-hulled fishing vessel on Christmas Eve 2009, according to a report by Philippine television network ABS-CBN.

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

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