CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Rob Rogers said Wednesday's memorial service for slain Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier captured and celebrated his stepbrother's life of service — in law enforcement and toward others.
There were sirens, bagpipes, American flags and hundreds and hundreds of fellow officers.
"He would love this. He was born to be a police officer and lived out his dream," Rogers said.
Vice President Joe Biden joined thousands of students, faculty and staff, and law enforcement officials from across the nation at Briggs Field for the service to honor an officer who was already well-respected by his colleagues and superiors, and popular with students after little more than a year on campus
Collier was fatally shot on April 18, three days after the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people. Authorities say he was shot by brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was charged Monday in his hospital room, where he is in fair condition with a gunshot wound to the throat suffered during his attempted getaway. His brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan, died Friday after a gunbattle with police.
"My heart goes out to you," Biden told Collier's family. "I hope you find some solace in this time of extreme grief."
Biden called the bothers suspected in the bombings and Collier's killing "two twisted, perverted, cowardly, knock-off jihadis"
He said he is constantly asked the question of why terrorists do what they do against the U.S.
"I've come to conclusion they do it to instill fear," Biden said. "To have us, in the name of our safety and security, jettison what we value most in the world, our open society, our system of justice that guarantees freedom. ... Our transparency; that's their target.
"It infuriates them that we refuse to bend, refuse to change, refuse to bend to fear."
Collier's casket was positioned in front of the thousands who gathered on a bright, sunny spring day. Music of bagpipes echoed through the field and a large American flag, suspended high about the crowd between two fire department ladder trucks, flapped slowly in the breeze.