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In Tribute: Officer Sean Collier

BOSTON (CBS) --- All he ever wanted to be was a police officer.

Officer Sean Collier, 27, joined the MIT police force in January of 2012. Prior to that he was a civilian employee of the Somerville Police Department. MIT Police Chief John DiFava described Collier as a "dedicated officer who was extremely well liked by his colleagues."

Three days after the Boston Marathon Bombings, Collier was toward the end of his shift policing the MIT campus when the two bombing suspects came up to his car and police say, abruptly ended his life.

Collier was found in his vehicle near the Stata Center on campus around 10:30 p.m. He had several gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at Mass. General Hospital.

Police say the brothers were after Collier's gun, about to lead police on a violent chase which would eventually end in the death of one of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsaranaev. Tamerlan's brother Dzhokhar got away, only to be captured nearly 24 hours later hiding in a Watertown boat.

Collier graduated from Wilmington High School in 2004. He went on to graduate from Salem State University with honors in 2009, with a degree in criminal justice. He considered injured MBTA Transit Officer 'Dic' Donohue a close friend.

Collier's family released this statement after his death:

"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."

A memorial service held at MIT for Collier attracted law enforcement from across the country. Vice President Joe Bidden attended. His death became the impetus for a new Massachusetts law that would extend benefits to the family of slain campus police.

At the time of his death, Collier was about to leave his job at MIT and be sworn in as a Somerville Police officer.

In May, Governor Patrick signed an executive order authorizing the Mayor of Somerville to posthumously appoint Collier as a city police officer.

The police chief said that Collier would have been a "superstar" for them.


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