A return to safety after manhunt ends, fallen MIT police officer remembered
Boston Police announced at 9:45 p.m. on Friday that the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, 19-year-old Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, had been taken into custody after an intense manhunt that lasted nearly 24 hours, ending the threat to public safety.
The suspect was found under a tarp inside a boat in the backyard of a Watertown residence, and was taken to Beth Israel Hospital following his arrest.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, are believed to be responsible for Monday’s marathon bombings, which killed three people and injured more than 180 others, as well as the fatal shooting of MIT police officer Sean A. Collier Thursday night. The elder brother Tamerlan died after a shootout with the police early Friday morning.
According to MIT police chief John DiFava, MIT and Cambridge police officers paired up to patrol campus while the suspect was still at large.
Most local colleges, including MIT, closed on Friday. A Cambridge alert shortly before 6:30 a.m. encouraged residents to stay home and businesses to close. Many streets and buildings were eerily empty.
The emergency state at MIT was lifted at 9:24 p.m., although as of publication time, businesses in the student center have not yet reopened.
“We believe that our community needs time to recover and refocus,” wrote Chancellor Eric Grimson PhD ’80 in an email to students and instructors, announcing that MIT’s drop date has been moved from Thursday, April 25 to Monday April 29. Test dates and due dates for problem sets for many classes have also been pushed back.
Collier remembered by colleagues
On Thursday night, MIT police officer Sean A. Collier was fatally shot multiple times in his police vehicle while responding to a routine call near the Stata Center and the Koch Institute building.
At a press conference following the arrest, Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said that the shooting was a “vicious assassination.”
According to a statement released by the Middlesex District Attorney’s office, Collier was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
It was “in [Collier’s] DNA” to serve in law enforcement, DiFava told The Tech. In addition to his duties as an officer, Collier was involved in the Police Department’s IT operations, the MIT Outing Club, and a local homeless shelter.
“Collier was a very, very well liked individual. Right now, everyone is very tired, but I’m afraid that when the tiredness wears off, it will hit us,” DiFava said. “He had a heck of a sense of humor. He was incredibly charismatic. He was very, very dedicated, very hardworking.”
DiFava said he was worried about the toll Collier’s death has taken on other MIT officers. “If students were to approach an officer and just say, ‘How are you doing today? We’re sorry about MIT officer Collier,’ that’d go a long, long way,” DiFava said.
Joanna Kao contributed reporting.