About 100 police officers stood at attention as the casket of one of their own, Sean Collier, was loaded into a hearse under a gray drizzle, after his sister remembered a toddler who couldn’t let go of a threadbare blue teddy bear.
Collier, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology officer shot point-blank in his cruiser during the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers, was eulogized today in a funeral at St. Patrick Church in Stoneham, north of Boston.
His mother, Kelley Rogers, told the congregation of about 500 that her son wanted to be a police officer since he was 7 years old.
“He was smart, fun, just a little bit nerdy, and full of kindness,” said his older sister, Nicole Collier Lynch, who told the story of the blue bear. “I mourn the loss of my little brother.”
A memorial service for Collier tomorrow at MIT is expected to draw up to 10,000 people, according to a statement on the institute’s website. White House officials said Vice President Joe Biden will attend.
Eight-year-old Martin Richard, the youngest of three people who died in the blasts, was buried this morning after a private funeral Mass attended by his immediate family, his parents, Denise and Bill Richard, said in a statement distributed by Liberty Square Group, a Boston-based public relations adviser. They said they plan a public memorial service in the coming weeks.
Martin was known in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester as a cheerful kid who played several sports.
“He was a handsome kid with a big smile who loved baseball,” said Mike Christopher, his Little League coach. “He was everything you want in a little kid.”
Opening day for Martin’s team, the Rangers, will be on April 27, when about 200 other Little Leaguers are scheduled to march to a Dorchester ball field led by bagpipers and a fire truck with flag bunting.
“We’re going to miss him, every game we play,” Christopher said.
Lu Lingzi, a graduate student from China who never knew she’d passed her exams toward a master’s degree in statistics in Boston University, was remembered yesterday as someone who excelled in all she tried, from calligraphy to dance.
More than 1,000 students and faculty members filled an auditorium last night for a memorial service at which Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and university President Robert Brown joined family members who traveled from China.
“She was our family’s Shirley Temple,” Lu’s sobbing father, Lu Jun, said of his only child, according to her uncle who translated. “The little elf and the little jolly girl bringing everybody in the family ceaseless laughter, lightheartedness and fun.”
Lu, 23, was called a generous friend and passionate piano player who so missed her puppy back in China that she started calling one of her friends by the same name, Jing Jing.
“I was so grateful that I found such a lovely sister in my life,” said her roommate, Jing Li, a graduate student in the School of Education. “But I had no idea that this friendship could only last one year.”
The other victim of the blasts, Krystle Campbell, 29, of Medford, Massachusetts, was buried yesterday at almost the moment U.S. authorities announced charges against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, in the bombings.
A solitary bell tolled as pallbearers carried Campbell’s casket up the stairs of St. Joseph Church in Medford in front of more than 800 silent onlookers.
Mourners waiting to attend the funeral formed a line that stretched down the block. Others stood 15-deep across the street under an 18-foot American flag hanging from a tree. Twenty-eight police on motorcycles then led a 98-car funeral procession to Oak Grove Cemetery.
Patrick also attended Campbell’s funeral in Medford, where she graduated from high school in 2001, as did Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. Cardinal Sean O’Malley led the services.
The crowd of more than 500 standing opposite the church came to “pay our respects to Krystle and the Campbell family,” said Alyssa Settipanie, 22.
“Krystle and all the others were just innocent victims of a terrible, terrible act,” said Charlestown resident Walter Hope, 51, who stood across from the church as the funeral Mass began at about 11:30 a.m. “It’s hard to imagine what could make someone do such a thing.”
About 2,000 apartment and condominium dwellers were allowed back to their homes near the finish line today after the FBI released the crime scene Monday, city spokeswoman Lisa Pollack said.
Business owners were escorted back into their shops by city workers. Those establishments will remain closed and the area sealed off until the street is reopened sometime in the next few days.
The FBI returned the site to Menino yesterday with a symbolic handing-over of an American flag that flew at half-staff during the evidence gathering. The release of the scene kicked off the first step in the process: decontamination and cleanup of the debris and blood left in the wake of the bomb explosions.
“Handing over the flag represents the releasing of the crime scene,” said John Guilfoil, Menino’s spokesman.