by: Natalie Pasquarella Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The brother of a police officer killed by the suspect Boston Marathon bombers is sharing his story for the first time in Charlotte with Channel 9.
He lives in Charlotte and works at Hendrick Motorsports.
Eyewitness News found out how he has spent the seven months following his brother's death and how he plans to create a way to honor all first responders.
"He cared about the people. It wasn't just you know, I got to stop bad guys, it was I got to protect the good guys," said Andrew Collier.
Collier said his big brother Sean truly loved his job as a police officer in Boston and the 27-year-old made a real effort to know the MIT campus community he protected.
"That's one of the most amazing things about the police work that he did ... he really wanted to get to know the people that he was serving," said Collier.
He said there is some comfort knowing his big brother died doing what he loved.
On April 13, tragic news of the Boston Marathon bombing hit – Collier was working at Hendrick Motorsports.
His job as a machinist kept him busy, away from the TV.
"My mom sent me a text message, said that there was a bombing at the marathon finish line, and that Sean was OK," said Collier.
He said he and Sean worked opposite shifts, so he planned to call him once things calmed down, but he never got the chance.
Three days later, Sean responded to reports of a disturbance just after 10 p.m.
This is when police said he was shot and killed by the Boston bombing suspects.
Andrew woke up to his phone ringing.
"I saw that I had like seven missed calls -- and that's basically how I found out," said Collier.
He worked all night to get on the first plane home to Boston.
"Soon as I walked into my mom's house, I mean, I was a mess. You know, to see your family ... to see the house that you grew up with Sean in," said Collier.
A few weeks later, he had an idea – to create a federal holiday for first responders.
"I was like, you know, we don't really have anything for fallen officers or first responders. They are not that different than soldiers, they're basically soldiers of our community," said Collier.
After doing some research, he reached out to lawmakers in Massachusetts and he started a petition online. He has almost 30,000 signatures.
A lawmaker has drafted a bill.
Collier said they are now asking other representatives for support.
As for his big brother, "There is no one that Sean held higher than a police officer, and any way to honor them, and you know give them some credit that they deserve, I really think that he'd be very supportive of," said Collier.
Right now, there is no name or date on the bill because Collier said he wants to increase the odds of it passing by letting lawmakers give their input on what would work best.
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