The 27-year-old MIT police officer found shot to death, allegedly by the suspect Boston Marathon bombers, was honored by friends and family at his funeral Tuesday and is remembered as a charitable person who was dedicated to helping people.
Sean Collier's siblings appeared on the "Today" show on Tuesday and talked about the sadness that has descended on their family since his death five days ago.
"It was a nightmare come true," Collier's sister Nicole Lynch said. "I think everybody is just going through the motions right now and pulling together for Sean because that's what he would want us to do."
Collier's private funeral was held on Tuesday morning at St. Patrick's Church in Stoneham, Mass. His casket arrived with police officers from MIT and the Somerville Police Department where Collier worked, according to The Boston Globe.
Vice President Joe Biden and wife Dr. Jill Biden are scheduled to attend Collier's public memorial on MIT's campus on Wednesday.
Hours before Collier's private funeral, Lynch was joined by Collier's other sister Jennifer Lemmerman, brother Andrew Collier and step-siblings Jennifer and Robert Rogers on "Today." They reflected on a young Collier who would take insects out of the house to safety as a kid, played games that foreshadowed his career in law enforcement and asked his mother to step in when he saw a woman crying at a restaurant.
“That really shows from the very start, Sean's just care for other people, and it’s almost something that I took for granted and didn’t realize, but now through his death, I realized how good of a person he was, and I wish I could have told him that while he was still here," Andrew said.
Collier was shot multiple times by the Boston bombing suspects as he sat in his car on Thursday night, according to authorities. The suspects,19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan, unleashed chaos in the city of Boston after detonating two bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line earlier in the week, killing three people and wounding more than 200, authorities said. Tamerlan died early Friday morning after a wild police shootout. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is being treated for gunshot wounds in a Boston hospital and was hit with terrorism charges on Monday. He is cooperating with investigators, federal officials told NBC News.
The family has asked that donations in Collier's memory be made to the Jimmy Fund, a Boston-based, cancer awareness charity that meant a lot to Collier. Lemmerman recounted the moment when Collier heard about the charity on the radio.
“They just told stories of these children that were fighting for their lives and their families, and Sean was just so impacted by that,’’ Lemmerman said. “He went home and made a donation. He's just this high school kid. He had no money, but he made a small donation."