STONEHAM — The officers wore different patches, arriving from across the region, but as they prepared to enter St. Patrick's Church, they stood together under a light drizzle Tuesday morning.
Sean Collier, who was allegedly slain by the Boston Marathon terror bombing suspects last week, bought a new truck two months ago, a shiny black Ford F-150. It was parked in front of the church, close to the formation of police. The truck bed was filled with large flower arrangements, and bunting hung from the front bumper. A small sticker of the MIT Police insignia was affixed to the front left side of the truck, just before the driver's door.
On the back left window was another sticker, this one with a message: "Rest in Peace Officer Sean A. Collier."
Collier's funeral was private, attended by law enforcement, elected officials including Governor Deval Patrick, and Collier's family and friends, with three busloads from MIT. News crews pitched camp at a nearby intersection closed to traffic and on a lawn near the front of the church. As the slain officer's family emerged from a black limousine, there was silence except for the clicking of cameras.
The service lasted about 45 minutes, and officers from the Somerville Police Department, where Collier was to begin a new job this summer, led the way out, along with officers from MIT, where Collier had worked for about a year.
"They assassinated him; he had no chance, and it's hard to even comprehend," said Mary Susan Blout of Stoneham, standing in front of the church. "And I'm tired of having to explain it to my kids."
Collier, 27, was attacked Thursday night near Kendall Square in Cambridge in what Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis has called a "vicious assassination,'' an attack that helped spur a massive law enforcement response that ended with suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev fatally wounded during a gun battle in Watertown and his brother, Dzhokhar, captured after a 20-hour manhunt.
Since his death, Collier's family and friends have described a man who seemed destined to be a police officer, someone who had helped others since his childhood years in Wilmington, where he grew up with five siblings.
His siblings told the Globe's Kevin Cullen what they called "Sean stories," kind acts undertaken by him during their shared childhoods that continued once they became parents.
"When people say he was born to be a cop, they should know that didn't start when he was 18," his brother, Rob Rogers, told Cullen. "It started at 3, when he began looking out for everybody."
On Wednesday at noon, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will host a memorial service that is expected to be attended by Vice President Joe Biden, top MIT officials, police officers from across the country, and other members of the MIT community.
The service, which will be held on Briggs Field, is expected to draw up to 10,000 attendees. Only law enforcement and members of the MIT community with school identification may attend; the event is not open to the general public.
"The outpouring of support from the MIT community has been overwhelming," John DiFava, MIT police chief, said in a message posted Tuesday on the school's website.
"The MIT police are being embraced by warm wishes wherever we go, and we truly appreciate it," he said. "It's hard for me to express how meaningful this is to us."
Three people were killed in the Marathon bombings and 264 injured, officials said.
A private funeral Mass was held Tuesday for 8-year-old Martin William Richard of Dorchester, the youngest of the three killed in the bomb blasts.
On Monday, a Mass was said for Krystal Campbell, the 29-year-old restaurant manager killed in the bombings.
A memorial service was held Monday at Boston University for graduate student Lu Lingzi, a 23-year-old Chinese citizen killed in the attacks.
Brian Ballou can be reached at email@example.com.