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Boston Strong Basketball Tournament Honors Lost Lives, Creates Bonds

BOSTON (CBS) -- The fourth annual Boston Strong Invitational Basketball Tournament hosted by Mass. State Police was held over the weekend at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The event is a memorial for Officer Sean Collier, an MIT officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty by the Boston Marathon bombers, and benefits the foundation created in his name. This year, organizers decided to also honor another man.

Boston Police Officer Dennis "D.J." Simmonds died in 2014 as "a result of a head injury suffered during the Watertown shootout," said officials.

"We felt it was very important to include him in this tournament, especially since it was recently ruled a line of duty death as a result of the Boston bombing," said State Police Sergeant Tony Dear. 

The tournament is also a place for law enforcement to connect with the public. Young players in the tournament are coached by police officers.

Collier's family appreciates how the weekend honors their loved one.

"It just keeps Sean's memory alive, and now we have Dennis Simmonds as part of it as well. So it keeps their memory alive," said Joe Rogers, Collier's stepfather. "It's a tragic event and out of their deaths something positive happens."

Collier's sister, Jennifer Lemmerman, said the tournament started when a friend wanted to honor her brother and "bring the police community together in his memory and really raise a lot of money in Sean's name for organizations that really mattered to him, like the Jimmy Fund and the scholarship here at MIT. It's just continued and grown every year and it's great to see what it has become."

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