SALEM — Sean Collier was born to be a police officer.
The 2009 Salem State University graduate talked about it all the time: he wanted to be a cop.
“It was pretty much a dream of his,” said Kristen Kuehlne, a criminal justice professor at Salem State.
Amanda Orcutt, his college adviser, remembers the first time Collier walked into her office. “He just said, ‘I want to be a police officer.’ Everything he did from that point forward was toward that goal.”
On Thursday night, Collier, a 26-year-old MIT police officer, was shot and killed by suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing.
The young officer responded to a disturbance on the MIT campus and was shot several times in his vehicle, according to police. He was found around 10:30 p.m. and taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
After working in a civilian role with Somerville Police, the Wilmington native was hired in January 2012 by MIT campus police. MIT Chief John DiFava described him as a dedicated officer.
At Salem State, Collier is remembered for his intelligence, dedication, sense of humor and heart.
“He was a good person,” said Orcutt. “He just wanted to help. He had a sense it was his obligation as a human being to help other people.”
Orcutt, an associate professor of criminal justice, not only taught Collier and served as his academic advisor, she also traveled with him and other students on a study abroad to England. After graduation, they kept in touch. Last year, he emailed her with the news he had been hired at MIT.
“He was excited about that,” she said.
Serving as a police officer was just an extension of the kind of person Collier was, Orcutt said.
“It wasn’t just that (being a police officer) was his life goal,” she said. “He did that in everything he did. He was a first responder. He helped people with their bags. If someone tripped and fell down on the sidewalk, he was the first to ... reach out his hand. That was who he was.”