Officer Sean Collier was dedicated to his work and loved life; to the 27-year-old bachelor, "every day was a good day," said Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Chief John DiFava at a ceremony Friday to unveil a temporary memorial to Collier.
Authorities say the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects killed Collier on April 18 to get his gun as they fled police.
"He was a man of character. He was an individual that knew exactly where he was going and how he was going to get there," an emotional DiFava told a group of about 200 people who showed up for the on-campus ceremony on just three days' notice.
The ceremony was held six months to the day of Collier's death. A moment of silence during a candlelight vigil was scheduled for 10:20 p.m. Friday, the exact time Collier was slain.
"It's painful to the extreme to try to reconcile the fact that six months ago at this very hour, Sean Collier was still with us," the chief said.
The limestone memorial near where Collier was killed is engraved with the MIT shoulder patch below Collier's badge number 179. It was decorated Friday with flower arrangements and U.S. flags. The rough-hewn stone came from the university's signature building, the Great Dome.
A permanent memorial at the site near Main and Vassar streets is planned.
Collier was a Wilmington native and Somerville resident who had earned his law enforcement degree from Salem State University. He had accepted a job as a Somerville police officer before his death.
One bombing suspect was killed during the search for him and his brother. His brother remains in custody, pending a trial.
This article was originally published on October 18, 2013.
This program aired on October 18, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.