Escapee Shot; Vests Save Mass. Police

A man suspected of a Springfield barber shop shooting Saturday that left one person dead was tracked by police to his hiding place in the trunk of a car, opened fire on the officers when they popped the trunk and was wounded when the officers returned fire, police said.

A Massachusetts state trooper and a Springfield police officer were each shot in the chest but were wearing bullet-proof vests that police credited with saving the officers' lives.

Police identified the suspect as prison escapee Tamik J. Kirkland, 24, whom police had been looking for since his escape April 24 from a minimum security prison, where he was serving a sentence for weapons convictions.

A 6-month-old baby was in the rear seat of the car but was not injured, police said.

"The trunk was popped and officers were a couple of feet from the trunk," Springfield Sgt. John Delaney, executive aide to the police commissioner, said in a news release.

"The suspect came out firing right away striking the Mass State Trooper in the chest and then kept shooting striking the Springfield Police Officer in the chest," Delaney said. "Both the Trooper and the Springfield Police Officer had their lives saved by their bullet proof vests."

Delaney said the officers shot Kirkland several times, then performed CPR on him before Kirkland was taken to a hospital. Kirkland was in serious condition at Bayside Medical Center, police said. Delaney said Kirkland's mother was shot last week and Kirkland was a suspect in other shootings in Springfield in the same week.

The officers' names were not released, pending notification of their families. Their injuries were not life threatening. The Springfield Republican identified the police officer as Raul Gonzalez.

About noon Saturday, police responded to a shooting at Bill Brown's House of Beauty, Barber Shop and Supply. Two people were shot: one fatally. The other was critically injured, police said.

Police were told of a house where the suspect might have gone. When they arrived, they saw a woman drive into the driveway, then saw a man get into the trunk of the car. Officers got the woman out of the car and then approached the back of the car, when Kirkland burst from the open trunk and started firing, police said.

This program aired on May 1, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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