RICHMOND — Officer Seara Burton remains in critical condition Thursday night, according to Richmond Police Chief Michael Britt.
Around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Burton responded to assist other officers with a traffic stop near North 12th Street and C Street, according to Indiana State Police.
Burton, stopped a man riding a moped and used her K-9 partner, Brev, to conduct an open-air sniff. Brev alerted to the possible presence of narcotics.
While officers were talking with the suspect, Phillip M. Lee, 47, of Richmond, Lee pulled out a firearm, fired several rounds at officers and struck Burton. Other officers returned fire, hitting Lee and he ran.
Lee was later apprehended after a chase.
According to Britt, Burton suffered a gunshot wound to her head.
Surgery was performed and she is initially showing slight signs of responsiveness, according to Britt. She has not regained consciousness and is still fighting for her life.
Britt's full statement can be read below:
I would like to bring everyone up to date on the tragic event that occurred last evening in our community. It has been a whirlwind 24 hours and many things have occurred. Firstly, Officer Seara Burton is still in extremely critical condition at a Dayton Hospital after suffering a gunshot wound to her head. Surgery has been performed and she is initially showing slight signs of responsiveness. She has not regained consciousness and is still fighting for her life. An arrest has been made by the great Troopers of the Indiana State Police, who responded to and took command of the scene. They are in command of the investigation so any additional information regarding the details of the incident will have to come from them. I feel it important to update everyone on the condition of my officer and my department.
As you could imagine this event was traumatic to not only Off. Burton but to the many officers that responded to the scene to assist where they could. The critical injuring of our sister in blue was not easy to see. I have chosen to temporarily re-assign most officers involved with the incident to other duties, along with EAP to collect themselves.
The City of Richmond is well protected and you will have a police response when needed. Along with the Indiana State Police handling the scene and investigation, their command staff committed to assign a group of I.S.P. Troopers to the City of Richmond to augment our responses for the next few days. If emergency services are needed, please don’t be surprised to see a Trooper show up. Wayne County Sheriff Randy Retter and his agency have committed personnel to the City as well to ensure total coverage of our citizen’s needs. The City of Richmond will still have abundant law enforcement while we sort things out.
Let me also mention the selfless outpouring of support, not only by our Law Enforcement brothers and sisters, but the outpouring of support from many members of our community, including local businesses. It has been truly heart- warming to witness the things I’ve seen and heard of today. This truly defines our communities’ interest in the well- being of their first responders and fellow citizens. For this, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
I have been asked many times in the last 24 hours “what do you need” and “what can I do to help”. All of our immediate needs have been met. What we need the most is your prayers for our brave Officer who is suffering at this moment.
Obviously, Richmond Indiana is a community that cares, and I thank you! We will all get through this.