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'He pulled the gun and fired with no hesitation': Neighbor recounts moments before Richmond officer shot

Woman recounts moments before Richmond officer shot
Woman recounts moments before Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton was shot
Posted at 1:32 PM, Aug 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-11 18:18:48-04

RICHMOND — It was a night that Michelle Partin won’t ever forget.

Partin says she was inside of her home when she witnessed the moment that 28-year-old Officer Seara Burton was shot Wednesday night.

“I’m guessing that the man had something that he didn’t want the officers to find because when they attempted to search his scooter, there was no playing around about it; he pulled a gun on her and shot her,” Partin said.

Partin said she has lived in her home near 12th and C streets for nearly two years. She hid inside her home as the suspect, identified by police as Phillip M. Lee, pulled out a gun and fired at Officer Burton.

Partin said the shooting put her in a state of complete shock, making her unable to stand up.

Woman recounts moments before Richmond officer shot

“When she had the K-9 unit and when she went to move forward to approach him and let the dog do its job is when he pulled the gun and fired with no hesitation,” Partin said.

Partin said that she was Lee’s neighbor and that he had just moved In a few days before the shooting.

“I had no idea who he was,” Partin said.

But she remembers the moments before she watched Officer Burton lay on the ground after being shot. She said she wished things like this didn’t happen.

“It’s just crazy how life could change so fast — but not just her, but her whole family,” Partin said.

Seara Burton
Seara Burton

Police have said the shooting critically injured Burton and has her "fighting for her life."

It happened as she conducted a traffic stop on a moped, driven by a man later identified as Lee.

While officers spoke with Lee, he pulled out a firearm, fired several rounds at officers and struck Burton. Other officers returned fire, hitting Lee and he ran, police have said.

Lee was later apprehended after a chase, Keegan said. He was taken to Reid Hospital in Richmond in unknown condition.

At this time, it is unknown what the traffic stop was for.

Lee was arrested on probable cause and the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office will determine formal charges.

Indiana State Police is asking anyone with information to call them.