04/19/2013 at 10:00 AM EDT
A Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer who was killed overnight during a confrontation with the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects
has been identified as Sean Collier. He was 26.
Shots rang out on the MIT campus around 10:20 p.m. Thursday. Soon after, Collier was found in his police car with multiple gunshot wounds, and was later pronounced dead at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Boston Globe
On the MIT website,
campus police chief John DiFava described Collier as a well-liked and dedicated officer who had become highly involved with MIT's student population.
"Sean was one of these guys who really looked at police work as a calling," DiFava said. "He was born to be a police officer."
"In a very short period of time, it was remarkable how engaged he was with students, particularly graduate students," DiFava added, saying Collier had become active with the MIT Outing Club and had joined students in skiing and hiking.
"The loss of Officer Collier is deeply painful to the entire MIT community," said MIT president L. Rafael Reif. "Our thoughts today are with his family, his friends, his colleagues on our police force and, by all accounts, the many other members of our community who knew him. This is a senseless and tragic loss."
Collier had been on the MIT police force since January 2012 and was previously a civilian employee for the police department, in Somerville, Mass., where he lived.
Early Friday, MIT posted a message of condolence
on its website. "While the circumstances around the officer's death remain the subject of an active investigation, what is certain is that the officer gave his life to defend the peace of our campus," the message read. "His sacrifice will never be forgotten by the Institute. We are thinking now of his family, and our hearts are heavy."
MIT has cancelled class Friday as the manhunt continues for a second bombing suspect, following the death of the first suspect in a shootout with police.