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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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April 30th, 2013
06:29 PM ET

Brother of slain MIT officer: I don't want him to be a hero, I want him to be here

MIT officer Sean Collier, just 27 years old, was the final victim of the Boston terror attacks. Collier was ambushed in cold blood in his car during the manhunt for Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Collier died bravely, serving and protecting others, when the city of Boston needed people like him the most.

His family saw the qualities that made him a hero long ago.

"There's two Seans that we're mourning. There's this symbol of what happened that people feel so connected to," said Jennifer Lemmerman, Collier's sister. "Then at the same time, you realize this is my little brother that we're talking about, and it's a whole other feeling."

"When they first started saying Sean was a hero, of course my first reaction was, 'I don't want my brother to be a hero, I want my brother here,'" said brother Andrew Collier.

All he ever wanted to do was become a police officer, said his sister Jennifer. He would get into fights with his brother Andy, and when Andy ran away, Sean would chase after him making siren noises.

"He'd be yelling, 'You're breaking the law, you're breaking the law!'" recalled Jennifer, with a smile. "Or we'd pass someone on the side of the road and he'd sing the theme song to "COPS.""

"It was ingrained in him, right and wrong, there was no in between," said his eldest sister, Nicole Lynch. "Either you did the right thing, or you did the wrong thing, and if you did the wrong thing, you needed to be punished."

Sean's mother told a story at his funeral, about the time 6-year-old Sean stole a handful of pennies from his brother Rob's room. Sean was convinced they were coming to get him.

Sean Collier loved the brotherhood of law enforcement, which was on full display at his memorial service last week.

"Sean would have loved that if he could have seen it," said Travis Dixson, Collier's friend and roommate. "Tens of thousands of police officers, from literally all over the world ... It was a shame Sean couldn't have seen it, because it was everything he loved."

The Collier family is focused on creating a living memorial to their brother's legacy, including his low-profile community service work.

"Sean was very humble, and he didn't feel as though it was something he needed to talk about," said brother Andrew. "He'd say he's working when he's really going to volunteer."

As a family, they are trying to keep alive the things Sean found important, said sister Jenn Rogers. "He might not be here, but he's not going anywhere," she said.

Sean Collier was so close to fulfilling his dream of becoming a police officer for the city of Somerville, Massachusetts. His family says he was supposed to be sworn in June 3. The mayor of Somerville will posthumously award Collier his badge.

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