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(NECN: John Monahan) - As American flags fluttered in the crisp April breeze, 38 members of the Patriot Guard Riders paid their respects to fallen hero MIT Police Officer Sean Collier.
Howard Shrut says it’s just what they do.
"We’re here to show our support," he says.
The Riders were there at the request of Sean Collier’s family to stand outside his private wake held at the Anderson-Bryant funeral home in Stoneham.
Out front, a line formed with friends, family and police officers from a multitude of towns and agencies. All of them coming out in full force to pay their respects while the Patriot Guard respectfully lined the sidewalk across the street.
"Our group attends the funeral of vets who have died - KIA’s and first responders and of course MIT Police Officer Sean Collier is a first responder," Shrut said.
Collier was allegedly shot and killed on the MIT campus by the Marathon Bombing suspects as their rampage began on Thursday night and Friday.
Over the weekend hundreds turned out for a candlelight vigil held in Sean’s memory in Wilmington where he grew up. One speaker telling the crowd, "two depraved hearts reminded us of our humanity reminded us of our vulnerability."
The loss of Sean Collier was keenly felt at MIT where students set up their own memorial made with flowers and messages for the fallen officer. At the wake, an MIT cruiser was draped in black and purple bunting.
And some Stoneham residents, like Stephen Longo, couldn’t resist a chance to pay their own respects, even if from a distance
"It seems it’s impacted everybody. He gave his life in an unnecessary act. It’s tragic," Longo said.
Longo was also very impressed by the patriotic display of American flags held high by the Patriot Guard and he says he’s not alone.
"Amazing and God bless them, I’m sure it means a lot to the family. It means a lot to other people too," he says.