Police officers arrive to a memorial service for fallen Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus officer Sean Collier at MIT in Cambridge, Mass. Wednesday, April 24, 2013. Authorities say Collier was killed by the Boston Marathon bombing suspects last Thursday, April 18. He had worked for the department a little more than a year. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — The line of mourners stretched for about a half mile at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Wednesday ahead of the service for a campus police officer who authorities say was shot to death by the Boston bombing suspects.
Thousands of students, faculty and staff, law enforcement officials from across the nation and Vice President Joe Biden gathered to pay respects to Sean Collier, who was already well-respected by his colleagues and superiors, and popular with students after little more than a year on campus.
MIT police Chief John DiFava said Collier, 27, was born to be a police officer.
"He is the one of the nicest people that I've ever met," said Kelly Daumit, 35, of Seattle, an engineering student at MIT who had gone on hikes with Collier as part of the MIT Outing Club. "Everything people are saying about him is completely genuine; it's not because of what happened."
MIT employee Larry Clark said he had only talked to Collier a couple of times but wanted to pay his respects. "It's very tough. It's still a shock," he said.
As many as 10,000 people were expected at Briggs Field on campus. They had to make their way through tight security, including metal detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs ahead of the service.
Biden, MIT President L. Rafael Reif, DiFava and members of Collier's family were scheduled to speak.