MIT police officer Sean Collier, 26, of Somerville, was identified as the victim in last night’s shootout with the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, authorities said.
Collier had been an MIT police officer since January 2012, and prior to that was a civilian employee with the Somerville Police Department.[embedgallery id= 137610]
Collier’s family issued the following statement: “We are heartbroken by the loss of our wonderful and caring son and brother, Sean Collier. Our only solace is that Sean died bravely doing what he committed his life to – serving and protecting others. We are thankful for the outpouring of support and condolences offered by so many people. We are grieving his loss and ask that the media respect our privacy at this time.”
MIT Police Chief John DiFava described Collier as a dedicated officer who was extremely well liked by his colleagues and the MIT community.
Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Chief of Police Thomas Pasquarello also issued a statement about Collier’s death.
“Our hearts are broken today, as we learn about the death of one of our own, Sean Collier. Sean had been a dedicated civilian employee in the Somerville Police Department, working to become a Somerville police officer. Sean was a tremendous young man, and we grieve for his family and friends in Somerville, and in our department. Similarly, we grieve for the families and friends of all victims of this week’s acts of senseless violence, and hope that we can continue to unite in support of all affected.”
About 10:20 p.m. Thursday, police received reports of shots fired on the MIT campus. At 10:30 p.m., Collier was found shot in his vehicle in the area of Vassar and Main streets. According to authorities, the officer was found with multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital and pronounced dead.
An investigation determined that the two men wanted in the Boston Marathon bombings were involved in this shooting.
A short time later, police received reports of an armed carjacking by two males in the area of Third Street in Cambridge. The victim was carjacked at gunpoint by two men and was kept in the car with the suspects for about half an hour. The victim was released, uninjured, at a gas station on Memorial Drive in Cambridge.
Police immediately began a search and were in pursuit of the vehicle into Watertown. At that time, explosive devices were reportedly thrown from the stolen car by the suspects. The suspects and police also exchanged gunfire in the area of Dexter and Laurel streets. During this pursuit, MBTA police officer Richard H. Donohue, Jr., 33, was seriously injured and transported to the hospital.
During the pursuit, one suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was critically injured and transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. An extensive manhunt is ongoing for the second suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is believed to be armed and dangerous.
The Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad is assessing and removing any potentially explosive devices that may have been thrown on the street in Watertown by the suspects.
The investigation is ongoing.