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Man accused of shooting Richmond police officer held on $1 million bond

Phillip Lee aimed for heads, narrowly avoided shooting second cop, doc says
“I’m not saying he’s innocent at all,” said Lee’s twin brother, Mike Lee. “He’s a habitual offender. He only knows prison life.”
Posted at 10:32 AM, Aug 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-12 17:20:39-04

WAYNE COUNTY — A judge has set bond for the man accused of shooting Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton at $1 million, online court records show.

Phillip M. Lee, 47, of Richmond was charged Thursday with several felonies — including two counts of attempted murder.

He faces the following charges:

  • Attempted murder — two counts
  • Unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon
  • Possession of methamphetamine
  • Possession of cocaine
  • Possession of a narcotic drug

Authorities allege Lee shot Burton, 28, during a traffic stop Wednesday.

The shooting left Burton critically injured and "fighting for her life" at a Dayton hospital, police have said.

A probable cause affidavit alleges Lee was aiming for police officers' heads and faces when he shot at them and managed to strike Burton, but narrowly avoided striking another officer.

Richmond officers first encountered Lee about 6 p.m. when a narcotics unit was conducting operations. Lee was known to police as a drug offender and police believed they saw him complete a narcotics transaction in the 400 block of North 17th Street.

Police later stopped Lee while he was on his scooter in the 200 block of North 12th Street. Burton, a K-9 officer, was called to the scene around 6:37 p.m.

Burton's K-9 partner then sniffed the scooter and indicated the possible presence of narcotics, at which point Lee drew a handgun from his waist and fired several shots at Burton and another Richmond police officer "from close range," the affidavit alleges.

Surveillance video of the encounter appeared to show "(Lee) ... firing at the head and facial areas of both officers" before striking Burton once and narrowly missing the other officer's head, the affidavit alleges.

Lee then ran south toward his apartment as other officers returned fire, striking him while he was on his porch. He was then apprehended before being transported to Reid Hospital.

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

ISP also searched Lee's scooter and recovered substances that tested positive for suspected methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin, as well as several syringes.

On Thursday, Richmond Police Chief Michael Britt said Burton remained in critical condition, but showed "slight signs of responsiveness" after surgery.

Burton is a four-year veteran of the Richmond Police Department.

WRTV Investigates discovered Lee has a long criminal history dating back to 1994.

An initial court date for Lee has not yet been scheduled.