The small town of Wilmington, Massachusetts turned out Saturday to remember slain MIT police officer Sean Collier, killed at the age of 26 Thursday by the two suspects in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings.
A vigil was held in memory of the young officer at the town located about 15 miles from Boston, wrote the Associated Press, and a thousand people turned out for the occasion.
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Collier — who had wanted to be a police officer from his teenage years — had been planning to join the Somerville, Massachusetts police department in June, reports the Los Angeles Times, which added that Collier's family and friends spoke to the crowd gathered to honor him.
"These are the bravest men and women I know," said Collier's stepfather, Joe Rogers, to the gathered police and city employees at the vigil, wrote the Los Angeles Times. "Every day they go out to keep us safe from the people who do evil in the world. I think we need to applaud them because one night it could be them walking down a dark alley."
A slideshow of mages from WCVB.com showed a mourning but defiant crowd at the vigil for Collier.
The Boston Globe reported that representatives from 25 different police departments turned out for the memorial, which added that the vigil had been arranged over social media by a resident of Watertown.
“This is one way everyday citizens can really give thanks to everyone that took care of us,” said elder care specialist Mary Labadini to the Globe of the event, which she attended. “You can’t thank them all individually, but this shows the sentiments of the public are with them.”
In another sad twist of events, Boston's transit agency released to the public an image of Sean Colliers standing with 33-year-old transit police officer Richard Donohue at a Municipal Police Officer's Academy graduation ceremony.
Donohue remains hospitalized after he was seriously wounded in a gunfight with the suspects.
Collier was killed after he responded to a call citing a disturbance at MIT's Cambridge campus, though it remains unknown if this was related to the suspect's earlier robbery of a convenience store, noted Reuters. Collier's body was found in his car, shot multiple times.