Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier will be honored Thursday night by being sworn in posthumously as a Somerville police officer with his badge number being permanently retired.
Collier, 26, was nearing the end of his shift on April 18 when he was fatally shot by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the brothers allegedly responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings three days prior. Tamerlan was shot and killed by police in a Watertown gun battle a few hours later.
A Wilmington native, Collier had always dreamed of becoming a police officer joining the MIT force 15 months prior to his murder. He had just accepted a full time position with the Somerville Police Department where he was a civilian employee.
A memorial service was held for Collier on April 24 on the MIT campus with over 5,000 uniformed police officers from around the United States and Canada in attendance. Vice President Joe Biden also attended as well as musician and Massachusetts native James Taylor who performed at the service.
This past Saturday, over 100 police officers on motorcycles paid tribute to Collier in a procession to raise money for families of officers killed in the line of duty. A single red rose was placed on the site where he died.
Sponsored by Ride4Cops, the event raised over $50,000.
The Collier family has started an online petition seeking to get a bill passed creating a national holiday for first responders and have gathered 23,000 signatures so far.
The surviving Tsarnaev brother, Dzhokhar, is currently being held at the Federal Medical Center in Devens and faces multiple charges in his alleged part in the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and injured over 260. He was arraigned last month in federal court pleading not guilty to 30 charges including use of weapons of mass destruction.
If found guilty, Tsarnaev could face the death penalty which has not been administered in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 66 years.