As black bunting adorned the Massachusetts Institute of Technology police station for slain officer Sean Collier, neighbors gathered in the Boston suburb of Somerville, bringing water, food and well wishes for his roommates and officers who stood guard in front of his house.
“He dedicated his life to becoming a police officer,” said Somerville Alderman Bob Trane, speaking with reporters outside the multifamily home as a group of Tufts University students draped an American flag off their balcony. “I was just so impressed with his dedication towards his goal. It’s tragic. You don’t often come across someone so wise beyond his years.”
Collier, 26, was found in his car at 10:30 p.m. yesterday, about 10 minutes after police received reports of shots fired on the MIT campus, according to law enforcement officials, who are linking his death to the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing attack, Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 19, and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26.
The older brother was killed in a subsequent shootout in nearby Watertown; the younger brother is the subject of a manhunt that locked down Boston for most of the day.
“We are heartbroken by the loss of our wonderful and caring son and brother,” Collier’s family said in a statement. “Our only solace is that Sean died bravely doing what he committed his life to -- serving and protecting others.”
Boston transit officer Richard Donohue, 33, was in critical but stable condition after being shot in the Watertown confrontation, said Michael O’Connell, a spokesman for Mt. Auburn Hospital, where the officer underwent surgery.
“Facing extraordinary danger, officer Donohue never hesitated in fully engaging the terrorists in order to protect the citizens of the commonwealth,” Paul MacMillan, chief of the Massaschuetts Bay Transportation Authority Police, said in a statement. “I am extremely proud of him, and cannot say enough about his heroic actions.”
The family has received a “tremendous outpouring” of support, according the statement. MacMillan said the family wanted to extend condolences to the Collier family. Donohue and Collier graduated from the same Municipal Police Officers’ Training Academy class, said MBTA spokesman Joseph Pesaturo.
Donohue and his wife, Kimberly, have a son.
Collier, who grew up in suburban Wilmington, Massachusetts, did well on a civil service exam and probably would have landed a job with the Somerville Police Department this year, city officials said. Before joining the MIT police force, he was a civilian information-technology worker for the city.
“He was dedicated to his work,” Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone told WBUR radio. “He had a passion for his job. We were excited at the prospect for him to come back.”
Collier suffered multiple gun-shot wounds and was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
He was “a dedicated officer who was extremely well-liked by his colleagues and the MIT community,” MIT Police Chief John DiFava said today in a statement.
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