WILMINGTON, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) – Slain MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was remembered fondly in Wilmington by the thousands of people who came together for a candlelight vigil Saturday night.
Andrew Collier, the brother of the 26-year-old who was killed by the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, called his brother an "amazing man.
"He's a better man than I will ever be…and he was taken far too early," Andrew said.
Thousands of Wilmington residents and others throughout Mass. lined the street to welcome Sean home.
Sean Collier's casket was led into two by his brothers and sisters in blue.
"Sean is not in that casket. Sean will live on and his legacy will continue to live on," Andrew said.
Collier was a Somerville resident who had worked at MIT since January 2012. Before that, he was a civilian employee of the Somerville Police Department.
The Boston transit agency on Sunday released a photo of Collier with Richard Donohue, the 33-year-old transit police officer who remains hospitalized after authorities said was seriously wounded in a gun battle with the bombing suspects.
The photo was from a 2010 graduation ceremony at the Municipal Police Officers' Academy.
MIT Police Chief John DiFava says Collier was a dedicated officer who was liked by his colleagues and the MIT community.
"Sean was one of these guys who really looked at police work as a calling," said MIT Police Chief DiFava. "He was born to be a police officer."
DiFava said Collier was highly involved with MIT's student population.
"In a very short period of time, it was remarkable how engaged he was with students, particularly graduate students," DiFava said. He added that Collier had become active with the MIT Outing Club, joining students in skiing and hiking.
Collier was found shot several times in his vehicle in Cambridge at about 10:30 p.m. Thursday. He was pronounced dead at Massachusetts General Hospital.
According to a release from MIT, Collier was single and a native of Wilmington, Mass.
"The loss of Officer Collier is deeply painful to the entire MIT community," said MIT President L. Rafael Reif. "Our thoughts today are with his family, his friends, his colleagues on our police force and, by all accounts, the many other members of our community who knew him. This is a senseless and tragic loss."
His family released a statement: "We are heartbroken by the loss of our wonderful and caring son and brother, Sean Collier. Our only solace is that Sean died bravely doing what he committed his life to - serving and protecting others. We are thankful for the outpouring of support and condolences offered by so many people. We are grieving his loss and ask that the media respect our privacy at this time."
Authorities say he was shot by the two suspects in Monday's marathon bombings. An investigation into the circumstances surrounding Collier's death is ongoing.
The Salem State University Facebook page had posted the following:
Sean Collier was an exemplary Salem State University student who demonstrated unparalleled determination and commitment to his chosen field of criminal justice. From the moment I met Sean, he expressed an extraordinary desire to serve others through a career in law enforcement. No standards or expectations were insurmountable for him. Sean exceeded all and set the bar higher for all of those around him.
Sean seized every opportunity available to him in his pursuit of knowledge and experience in law enforcement. Whether teaching him in the classroom or supervising his field placement,
I saw in Sean a person of high diligence and maturity well beyond his years. Never shirking responsibility, he always offered assistance to others and consistently exceeded all expectations.
His personal and professional ethics were unquestionable – respected and admired by all who encountered him.
If I were to have predicted one student who would spend a lifetime of exemplary service and making extraordinary contributions to law enforcement, it would have been Sean Collier.
Sean will continue to be an inspiration and model for all of us at Salem State University. His spirit will live on in all of us.