Slain MIT officer’s brother has Charlotte-area tie

Friday, Apr. 19, 2013

The violence in Boston surrounding pursuit of the two bombing suspects reached late Thursday into the Charlotte area.

Sean Collier, the 26-year-old Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer who was believed killed by the bombing suspects, was the brother of Charlotte resident Andrew Collier.

Andrew Collier is a machinist with Hendrick Motorsports, the Harrisburg-based racing team said Friday.

“The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Hendrick Motorsports are with Andrew Collier and his family,” Hendrick Motorsports said in a statement.

Andrew Collier, 25, has been with Hendrick Motorsports since September 2008. He works in the company’s engine department. He is a native of Wilmington, Mass., according to his Facebook page.

Hendrick Motorsports operates four racing teams – five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, four-time champion Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne.

Johnson addressed Sean Collier’s death Friday in Kansas City, Kan., site of this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races.

“We’re one big family,” Johnson said, “and it’s sad and unfortunate to see a fellow teammate and his family have such a tough time.”

Andrew Collier could not be reached Friday, but his family issued a statement: “We are heartbroken by the loss of our wonderful and caring son and brother, Sean Collier. Our only solace is that Sean died bravely, doing what he committed his life to – serving and protecting others.

Police chief: He was popular

Sean Collier had been an MIT police officer since January 2012 and worked before that as a civilian employee with the Somerville (Mass.) Police Department. MIT police Chief John DiFava said Collier was extremely popular with his colleagues and in the MIT community.

Police received reports about 10:20 p.m. Thursday of shots fired on the MIT campus. About 10 minutes later, Collier was found shot to death in his vehicle nearby. Moments later, according to police, the two suspects carjacked a vehicle a few streets away.

According to a story posted three years ago on the Hendrick website, Andrew Collier got into auto racing in 2004 and 2005, while he was in high school. He worked as a mechanic for a team that competed in the Busch North Series, then moved to Charlotte and graduated from the NASCAR Technical Institute.

He joined Hendrick Motorsports in February 2008 as a volunteer and was hired seven months later.

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