Officer Sean Collier, 26 killed in MIT standoff

5:31 PM, Apr 19, 2013   |    comments
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MIT police officer Sean Collier, 26, of Somerville, Mass., was shot to death Thursday. (Photo: Middlesex District Attorney's Office via AP)

(USA TODAY) -- MIT police officer Sean Collier, 26, of Somerville, Mass., died Thursday night after two men fired gunshots at Collier, who responded to a disturbance on the campus.

MIT police chief John DiFava said Collier was "a dedicated officer who was extremely well liked by his colleagues and the MIT community," according to a press release from the Middlesex District Attorney office.

Massachusetts General Hospital pronounced Collier dead upon arrival Thursday after 10:30 p.m. when he was found between Vassar and Main streets,10 minutes after the first reports of gunshots on the MIT campus

Collier worked in the Somerville Police Department information technology department before he joined the MIT police in January 2012, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said.

"He was an outstanding employee for us," Curtatone said. "I have no doubt he was also an incredible officer for MIT."

Collier was among the top candidates to be appointed to the Somerville Police Department, before he began at MIT, Curtatone said. Even after he switched employment, he helped maintain the Somerville Police Department website, which he had helped build.

Members of the MIT Outing Club, an outdoor adventure group Collier participated in, created an online page to post memories of the deceased police officer.

"It seems you were a model MIT CI officer, who truly understood his role on campus and was a real friend to the students," an alum of this club wrote. "Thank you for your service."

Collier graduated with honors from Salem State University in 2009 where he majored in criminal justice. A post on the college's Facebook page read that they "are deeply saddened" about his death.

Somerville police are helping regional authorities with the ongoing manhunt, but Somerville residents are in no immediate danger, Curtatone said.

"It's been surreal," Curtatone said.

Stephanie Haven, Special for USA TODAY

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