MIT Officer Collier Laid to Rest in Peabody

A police motorcade escorts the body of Sean Collier to the Puritan Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery Wednesday afternoon.

More than 30 American flags, veterans from across Massachusetts and Connecticut, Peabody police officers and state troopers solemnly greeted the motorcade bearing the body of Sean Collier as it arrived in Peabody this afternoon.

Collier, a 26-year-old MIT police officer who was allegedly shot and killed by the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects on April 18, was laid to rest at Puritan Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery.

The motorcade, which included three departments Collier was affiliated with — MIT, Cambridge and Somerville, accompanied Collier’s family from the site of a memorial service at MIT earlier today. That service was attended by thousands of police officers and Vice President Joe Biden.

Peabody police were not involved in the graveside service, but provided security for the site, along with state and federal agents. And security was tight — only authorized visitors or members of the burial party were allowed in during the duration of the service.

Cambridge, Somerville and MIT police were part of the private burial service with family members.

Officers on security and traffic detail said the Secret Service were deployed in Cambridge for Biden’s visit, but not present in Peabody.

Due to the heightened state of security in the Boston area, the entire cemetery was swept for any explosives prior to the burial service.

Police officers on security detail outside the cemetery said they did not know why Puritan Lawn was chosen as Collier’s burial site. Collier, a Salem State graduate, was a Wilmington native and a Somerville resident at the time of his death.

He did work for a time as a security officer at the Northshore Mall, according to local police.

Peabody Police Capt. Joe Berardino said all visitors to the cemetery during the day were escorted at all times by officers. At approximately 2:30 p.m., about 20 mintues before the motorcade arrived, visitors were asked to leave for an hour for security reasons. 

As for the flag-waving civilians standing at attention, they were all members of the Patriot Guard Riders, a nationwide volunteer organization that seeks to support the families of fallen soldiers and officers and help shield them from protesters, specifically those from the Westboro Baptist Church. 

Kevin Ridley, a military veteran from Medfield, said many of the Guard are Vietnam veterans, who experienced a great deal of animosity when they returned home. They hope to shield today’s veterans from that.

“We wanted to make sure what happened to us, doesn’t happen to them,” he said.

South End Patch