At Sean Collier funeral, hundreds salute MIT cop allegedly slain by suspected Boston Marathon bombers
STONEHAM, Mass. -- Sean Allen Collier dreamed in blue. As a young boy, he so idolized the men and women who patrolled the streets of his suburban Boston hometown, he would stand and salute them when they passed.
At a Catholic funeral Mass at St. Patrick's Church for the 27-year-old fallen MIT officer, who authorities say was fatally shot while on duty Friday in Cambridge, Mass., by the suspected Boston Marathon bombers, his brother Andrew Collier called on the mourners to salute him. The crowd of hundreds -- family, friends and fellow officers -- rose from their seats inside the cavernous church and raised their hands in tribute.
"We used to do it as kids, and I think he would like it," Andrew Collier said. "Sean stopped them. The only thing I wish is that Sean would have caught them instead of being the one that stopped them."
Collier, of Somerville, Mass., was killed Thursday in a late-night confrontation with Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was later fatally shot by police, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who faces federal charges of using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death in the bombings that killed three and injured 176. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has not yet been charged by state prosecutors in Collier's death or the shooting of a transit officer hurt in the manhunt.
Collier family members said Tuesday they were praying for transit Officer Richard Donohue Jr., a close friend who remains hospitalized.
Vice President Joe Biden is expected to attend Wednesday's memorial service for Collier on the MIT campus, where thousands of police officers from across the country -- including some from Long Island -- are expected to converge.
Marathon victim Martin Richard, 8, also was laid to rest Tuesday. A funeral for victim Krystle Campbell, 29, was held Monday, the same day Boston University held a memorial service for victim Lu Lingzi, 23.Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick attended Collier's Mass, which included messages from Boston's archbishop, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, who said Collier had "died too soon."
More than 100 police officers from several Boston suburbs and many of the area's campus police forces, including dozens of MIT officers, walked in single file and packed rows of pews near the front of the church, black tape covering their badges -- the universal symbol of a fallen officer.
Collier, a graduate of Salem State University, had joined the MIT police force 15 months ago and was poised to become a Somerville police officer.
His mother, Kelly Rogers, told mourners of a little boy with a strong moral compass. At 7, she said, Collier took a handful of pennies from a relative, but quickly confessed to her.
His grandmother told her, she recalled, "He's either going to be a police officer or a priest, because there's no gray in his world."
"I'm just so proud I had 27 years with him," she said.