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Man accused of shooting Richmond Officer Seara Burton also fired at 2 other cops, court docs allege

Phillip M. Lee
Posted at 1:10 PM, Aug 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-08 06:30:56-05

RICHMOND — A new charge of attempted murder has been filed against the man accused of shooting a Richmond police officer on the basis he shot at another officer while police searched his vehicle for drugs, court documents show.

Phillip Lee, 47, of Richmond, now faces a total of three attempted murder charges — one in the shooting of Burton, who remains hospitalized, and two other Richmond officers who were at the scene the night of Aug. 10.

On top of the two already-existing attempted murder charges, Lee is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, possession of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine and possession of a narcotic drug.

The new charge carries a $500,000 surety bail for Lee, which comes in addition to the $1 million already set for the six other counts. Because he is being held on a parole violation with no bail, he wouldn't be released from jail even if he pays the other bails, a jail captain told WRTV earlier this week.

A supplemented probable cause affidavit filed Thursday alleges Lee shot at officers a total of five times. Burton and a second officer were shot at from close range while the third was shot at from about 20-25 feet away, according to the affidavit.

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The initial affidavit filed the day after the shooting states Burton suffered a gunshot wound to her head — an injury the second officer narrowly avoided. Lee also struck the third officer's police vehicle.

Burton and the other officers encountered Lee about 6 p.m. Aug. 10 during a traffic stop in the 200 block of North 12th Street shortly after a narcotics unit believed they saw Lee complete a narcotics transaction nearby. Lee was known to police as a drug offender, documents allege.

Burton's K-9 partner Brev sniffed a scooter Lee was driving and indicated the possible presence of narcotics, at which point Lee drew a handgun from his waist and fired at the officers, documents allege.

Newly-released details from the supplemental affidavit allege Lee had his hands in his pockets during the search and officers commanded him several times to show his hands before he drew the gun.

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"(An officer) described and demonstrated how (Lee) started at him with what was described as an 'evil look' ..." the affidavit states.

The document continues to say, "the suspect's hands began to shake as the K-9 search of his scooter progressed" and an officer started to draw a Taser shortly before Lee began firing shots, according to the affidavit.

Lee first tried to shoot one officer at close range, then turned and shot Burton before running away while shooting at a third officer. It was then he struck the third officer's vehicle before he fell over.

Afterward, officers returned fire and chased Lee toward his apartment, striking him while he was on his porch. Lee was then apprehended before being transported to a hospital.

Police later located a 9mm handgun, on Lee's porch. It had a 10-round magazine inside it at the time.

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Police also searched Lee's scooter and recovered substances that tested positive for suspected methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin, as well as several syringes, according to the affidavit.

On Wednesday, Richmond Police Chief Michael Britt told the city's common council that Burton remained in critical condition but was showing "glimmers of hope" for recovery.

He also thanked fellow law enforcement and the community for their support.

Lee has a long criminal history dating back to 1994, WRTV investigates has learned. He has served 20 years in state prison for previous convictions.

He's scheduled to appear virtually for an initial hearing at 3:30 p.m. Friday through Wayne Circuit Court, court records show.

Andrew Maternowski, an attorney representing Lee, declined to comment for this story.