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Staff and Wire Report

SPRINGFIELD — A former MCI-Shirley inmate who escaped the minimum- security prison five days before he killed a barbershop customer, wounded the barber and then injured two officers during a shootout with police was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday.

A Hampden Superior Court jury found 27-year-old Tamik Kirkland of Springfield guilty Wednesday on charges including murder and armed assault with intent to murder. He was sentenced to life without parole.

Authorities say Kirkland escaped from MCI-Shirley in April 2011. Five days later he went into a Springfield barbershop and wounded a barber and fatally shot a customer. He was shot six times in a shootout with police. A state trooper and a Springfield police officer were shot during the shootout.

Authorities have said Kirkland wanted revenge for the shooting of his mother. Prosecutors were not allowed to tell the jury about his mother’s shooting.

Kirkland pleaded guilty to escape last August in Woburn Superior Court. He was sentenced to five years in prison for the escape.

State Police Colonel Timothy Alben praised the jury’s verdict and the work of investigators in a statement released Wednesday night.

"We are thankful that the officer and trooper who were shot by the defendant were not seriously injured, and our thoughts remain with the family of Sheldon Innocent, the man whom Kirkland murdered before his shootout with police."

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