Shots Fired – Highlands

Police got called to Cheney Place, a short dead-end off Liberty Street, tonight about 11:30 for a report of a fight and possible shots fired.
Officers found a shell casing and one live round outside a home at 24 Cheney Place but no evidence of injuries.
Two guys were arrested on warrants. There was evidence a nearby home was struck by a bullet.

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Shirley Escapee Opens Fire

I had a real tight deadline on this tonight, so I’m just posting the story, along with some links to excellent coverage by The Republican in Springfield.
By Robert Mills
rmills@lowellsun.com
A 25-year-old gang member who escaped the minimum-security prison at MCI-Shirley last week emerged from the trunk of a car and shot both a police officer and a state trooper in the chest yesterday in Springfield before he too was shot.
Police said Tamik Kirkland, 25, of Springfield, escaped from MCI-Shirley on Monday morning, about 7:35 a.m., prompting a statewide manhunt by state police and other agencies who warned all week that Kirkland should be considered armed and dangerous.

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The Department of Corrections is still investigating Kirkland’s escape, but Diane Wiffin, an agency spokeswoman, said a preliminary review indicates Kirkland fashioned a dummy in his bed to evade a head count, and then walked away from the prison.
Wiffin said a staff member at the prison has been “detached with pay” pending further investigation.
It was just after noon yesterday when police were called to a barber shop on State Street in Springfield and found two men shot. One of those men was killed but the other is expected to survive.
While investigating that incident, Springfield police and an unidentified 6-year veteran of the state police went to a home on Burr Street in Springfield, where they saw a car back up to the house.
Police did not say why officers went to that address.
State Police spokesman David Procopio said officers watched a man leave that house and get into the trunk of the gray car just before the car began to pull away from the home.
Police boxed that car in with cruisers and began to get a female driver out of the car.
“As they’re taking her out of the car, the trunk pops open and shots are fired out of the trunk,” Procopio said.
A 15-year veteran of Springfield Police and a 6-year veteran of the state police were both shot in the chest, Procopio said.
“In both cases the impact was absorbed by body armor,” Procopio said.
Procopio said other officers converged on the area and returned fire, and that Tamik Kirkland was shot and fell out of the trunk.
Kirkland was taken to Bay State Medical Center in Springfield, where he was in critical condition under heavy police guard last night.
Procopio said the state trooper who was shot had a mark from the bullet on his ballistics vest directly above his heart. He said troopers have the option of wearing vests while working.
“It is not mandated,” Procopio said. “We thank God both of these men today had their vests on.”
Procopio said the state trooper involved in the incident had been treated at a local hospital and was already at home last night. He is assigned to Troop B, and is a road trooper in the Springfield area.
The Springfield officer was also expected to survive.
When the gunfire finally stopped, police realized there was a six-month-old girl in the back seat of the car that Kirkland had emerged from, Procopio said.
“This all happened so fast,” Procopio said. “Thank God the child was not hurt.”
The connection between the child, the female driver and Kirkland remains under investigation, according to Procopio.
Procopio said Kirkland will face a single count of murder for killing 24-year-old Sheldon Innocent, of Wilbraham, outside the barber shop. He will also face three counts of armed assault with intent to murder – two counts for shooting the officer and trooper, and another count for shooting the man who survived at the barber shop.
Police did not identify the officers or the surviving civilian.
Kirkland will also face a count of home invasion, three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, and possession of a firearm, for allegedly forcing his way into the home on Burr Street in Springfield prior to the shootout with police.
There were two other non fatal shootings in Springfield earlier this week.
“We’re investigating his connection to both of those shootings as well,” Procopio said.
The Republican of Springfield reports Kirkland’s mother was shot in Springfield on April 23. She is expected to survive. The newspaper reported last night that police believe Kirkland shot the men at the barber shop in retaliation for his mother’s shooting.
Kirkland was serving 2 1/2 to 4 years for firearms charges. He would have been eligible for parole on Feb. 15, and he would have been released on Aug. 16, 2013 at the latest.
“When the investigation is complete, the DOC will take whatever steps may be necessary to insure that an incident like this does not happen again,” Wiffin said in an email.
The Hampden County District Attorney’s Office could not immediately be reached for comment.
Procopio said police had been canvassing the Springfield area for Kirkland prior to the shooting, because they had intelligence indicating he was in that area, and that he was dangerous.
“They were sitting on locations, working around the clock, going to addresses connected to him and anyone he knew,” Procopio said. “We were focusing pretty intensely on that area.”
For some really on the spot photographs from the scene today, please check the link to The Republican that I posted atop this entry.

Great Timing by Vice Detectives

About an hour before the start of a seminar at Lowell High School tonight aimed at preventing the abuse of opiates city Vice Detectives busted a 27-year-old Lowell man with about 800 percocet tablets.
Percocet is a combination of oxycodone and acetomenophine, and is one of the most commonly abused opiates.
Police said vice detectives served a search warrant at 117 Fletcher Street about 6 p.m.
Detectives found about 800 tablets of percocet, some marijuana, a loaded .22 caliber handgun, and about $28,000 in cash inside a Lowell Housing Authority apartment there, according to police.
Gerard Christian, 27, who police said lives at that address, is facing a list of charges as long as your arm, including counts of trafficking over 200 grams of a class B substance, which carries a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison.
He is also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, felony improper storage of a firearm, and a slew of other drug charges.
Christian was being held tonight, and will be arraigned tomorrow in Lowell District Court.
The seminar regarding opiate abuse started at 7 p.m.

Shots Fired In the Acre

Police were called to 171 Fletcher Street in the Acre tonight about 9 p.m. for a report of shots fired.
They found a 9mm shell casing on Fletcher Street, pictured below, and three bullet holes in the apartment building.

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A young man at that building was cut by some flying debris as the bullets struck, but he wasn’t seriously injured and did not go to the hospital.
Police later found two more 9mm shell casings on Franklin Street, just across Fletcher from the building that was targeted. Here is one of the bullet holes in 171 Fletcher.

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Police were initially searching for a white Toyota Camry that was seen in the area at the time, and soon found it on Brooks Street nearby. No one was arrested, though.
Officers were also searching for a gray Honda that was seen in the area.
Anyone with information is asked to call Lowell police at 978-937-3200 or Crimestoppers at 978-459-TIPS (8477). Information can also be sent to police via Text-a-Tip, by texting TIP411 (847411) with the subject “LPDTIP.”
Tipsters can remain anonymous, but can receive up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.

Car Hits Paramedics, Rolls Over

Police and firefighters were called to Bridge Street and the VFW Highway today a little before 3:45 p.m., for a crash involving a car and an SUV driven by Saints Medical Center paramedics.
Police said the driver of the Saturn, which rolled over two to four times from what people at the scene told me, was taken to Saints Medical Center with minor injuries. There were two paramedics in the SUV, but they were unhurt.
Both photos here are by Julia Malakie.

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Christina Baez and her husband, Victor Baez, were in the parking lot at CVS when they heard the crash and looked to see the Saturn flip an estimated three or four times.
“He’s lucky to be alive,” Christina Baez said of the man in the Saturn.
Stephen Pica and Jared Oljey, both 15 and of Lowell, were walking up Lakeview Avenue when they heard sirens and looked toward the intersection just as the collision occurred.

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Pica said the Saturn rolled over two or three times.
Police didn’t have the names of the driver’s yet, so I’ll try to track those down later tonight once the reports are in.
UPDATE: Police identified the driver of the Saturn as John Rossman, 25, of East Bridgewater. He was cited for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.
Dwight Curtain, 58, of Groveland, was driving the paramedic truck, with fellow paramedic David Carney, 43.

Quick Work Prevents a Serious Fire

The first call to 911 about a fire at 100 Willie Street in the Acre tonight indicated there was a garbage fire.
Seconds later, police Detective Sgt. Jonathan Noone noticed an incredible amount of smoke in the area, and realized a large triple-decker at that location was on fire.

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Noone and Officer Nathan Bowler both ran into the building to alert residents, and Bowler suffered a minor cut to his hand while breaking a window to get inside.
As you can see in the picture below, the flames had quickly spread all the way up the side of the building as Engine 2 arrived from the Branch Street fire station.
The crew of that engine used a 2 1/2 inch hoseline, the largest on their truck, to get water on the quickly-spreading flames, and knocked them down moments before this thing really got out of hand.

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Deputy Chief Patrick McCabe said that quick action prevented the fire from getting inside the building, which prevented much more extensive damage.
Residents were able to return last night, and fire investigators were at the scene trying to determine how the blaze started. McCabe described the cause as suspicious.
If you have any information on how this started, call Lowell Police at 978.937.3200.

Arrest in Road Rage Stabbing

I called Tewksbury Police Chief Timothy Sheehan tonight about the break arrest they made yesterday, and he informed me that his officers had just then arrested a 19-year-old Lawrence man for last week’s road rage stabbing on Industrial Avenue.
It turns out police had been watching the area around Ballardvale Street in Wilmington thanks to information that was developed after several media outlets shared a description of the vehicle pictured below – a black Honda Civic with a gold undercarriage.

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Today about 4 p.m., officers spotted that car, followed it onto Interstate 93 and stopped it. Sheehan said Breslin Reyes, 19, of 125 Bailey St., Unit 1, Lawrence, agreed to go to the police station with officers.
Once there, Reyes was arrested and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury.
He is being held on $7,500 cash bail tonight, and will be arraigned Wednesday in Lowell District Court.

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Police say Reyes stabbed a 26-year-old Tewksbury man twice in the back of the head, three times in the shoulder and once in the forearm after the two stopped and fought following an angry exchange that stretched from Interstate 93 to Dascomb Road on April 20.
Sheehan praised his officers for their persistence on this investigation, and also offered a thank you to the members of the public who helped make this arrest happen.
“Thank you all for your help in getting the pertinent information out there,” he wrote in a prepared statement. “Diligence, persistence, and perseverance on the part of all of my detectives and officers involved proved effective in the apprehension of Mr. Reyes.”