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Man charged with shooting Richmond officer Seara Burton makes first court appearance

phillip lee court.png
Posted at 6:39 PM, Aug 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-19 18:39:40-04

WAYNE COUNTY — The man accused of shooting and critically injuring Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton made his first court appearance Friday.

WRTV was inside the courtroom as Phillip Lee, 47, appeared virtually from his hospital bed and entered a preliminary not guilty plea.

Lee was also appointed an attorney during the 11 minute court appearance. His bail remains at $1.5 million.

Lee told the court he is not currently employed and has no income. When asked when his last job was, he said "it’s been a long time, 2000-something, I don’t know. I really don’t remember.”

Lee 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 Wednesday, Richmond Police said Burton remains in critical condition.

"There have been some bright spots since Wednesday, but her condition is still very serious," police shared on Facebook.

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.

Online court records show Lee's next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 3 and the trail is set for Nov. 1.

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