MIT police officer Sean Collier, 27, was remembered Wednesday during a large memorial service held at the university's Briggs Field facility in Cambridge, Mass. Collier was ambushed April 18 by Boston bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, police say.
Vice President Joe Biden, speaking passionately to thousands of memorial attendees, called the Tsarnaev brothers "two twisted, perverted, cowardly, knockoff jihadis here in Boston," and at another point referred to them as "craven, misguided, perverted apostles."
Biden told Collier's family, "I hope you find some solace in this moment of extreme grief. ... No child should pre-decease their parents."
After allegedly killing Collier, the brothers hijacked a Mercedes SUV and held its owner hostage for about 30 minutes. One of the brothers told him, "Did you hear about the Boston explosion? I did that," according to the criminal complaint unveiled Monday against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Stephanie Chelf Guyotte, a spokesperson for the Middlesex District Attorney's office, told The Boston Herald that Collier "was not responding to anything" when he was killed, correcting previous reports that said he was responding to the scene of a robbery committed by the bombing suspects. "He was just sitting in his car, sort of in a routine patrol location," Guyotte said. "All indications are they approached the officer and they shot him."
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shoot-out with police hours after Collier was found dead. His younger brother successfully evaded police during a day-long manhunt in Watertown, Mass., but was captured after a resident noticed him hiding in a boat. He is currently facing federal charges that could bring the death penalty.
"People ask me if Sean were here, 'What would he think?' Are you kidding me? He would love this,'" Collier's older brother, Rob Rogers, said Wednesday at the memorial, the Boston Globe reports. "You've got sirens. Flashing lights. Formations. People saluting. Bagpipes. Taps. The American flag. He would have loved it."
MIT created a page on its website where people can leave condolences for Collier's family.
The Westboro Baptist Church, a small fundamentalist group from Kansas that celebrated the Boston bomb attacks as God's work, did not show up to picket the memorial service, despite announcing that it would. On Monday, the church's members also failed to show up at the funeral of 29-year-old bombing victim Krystle Campbell, where hundreds of members of the local Teamsters union gathered to head off an announced protest.