CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (CBSNewYork) — The Massachusetts Institute Of Technology campus police officer killed during Thursday night’s chaos is being called a hero.

Officer Sean Collier, 26, was found shot dead in his car following an apparent altercation with Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in front of a convenience store.

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Collier was responding to a report of a disturbance, investigators said.

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The officer, who was found in his vehicle around 10:30 p.m. Thursday, died of multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at Mass. General Hospital, CBS Boston reported.

Collier only joined the MIT police force in January of 2012, but was already popular with his colleagues and students.

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Earlier, police reported the suspects had held up a 7-Eleven in Cambridge and thought Collier had a description of them.

State Police, however, later said the brothers did not rob a store, and it is unknown what led up to the shooting of Collier, CBS Boston reported.

“They encounter an MIT police officer and rather than see, ‘Is he going to follow us? Is he going to chase us?’ it appears that they came up and engaged him, killed him in his police vehicle, took off,” CBS News senior correspondent John Miller said.

MIT Police Chief John DiFava described Collier as a “dedicated officer who was extremely well liked by his colleagues.”

Collier’s family released a statement Friday, saying “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.”

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