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Wounded Richmond officer showing 'glimmers of hope' for recovery, police chief says

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Posted at 2:39 PM, Aug 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-17 16:24:29-04

RICHMOND — A Richmond police officer who was critically injured in a shooting last week is showing "glimmers of hope" for recovery, the city's top police official said.

Richmond Police Chief Michael Britt gave the update on four-year Richmond police veteran Seara Burton during the city's common council meeting Monday, just after council members held a prayer for her.

The meeting came five days after she was shot during an attempted traffic stop.

Britt said Burton has been responsive to pain stimulus and her pupils have reacted to light — all of which, he said, are good signs.

"But it's ... make no mistake, it's a grievous head wound, and she has a long road back," Britt told the council.

Burton, 28, was taken to a hospital in Dayton, Ohio after she was shot Aug. 10. Britt previously said she was "fighting for her life."

On Wednesday, police provided another update saying Burton remains in critical condition and continues to fight.

"There have been some bright spots since Wednesday but her condition is still very serious," a media release Wednesday said. "We as a Department, and a Community continue to hope and pray for her recovery."

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Her K-9 partner, Brev, was with her at the time of the shooting but was uninjured. Brev is being cared for by a former Richmond Police investigator and former K-9 handler.

Britt described Burton as a "stellar" officer with deep connections to the department. She had only recently become a K-9 handler.

"As we wait through this, I've found that everybody's prayers has been the most effective tool yet. We know that she's still here by God's choice. This has affected a lot of people," Britt said.

Britt went on to thank the council and the community at large for their support.

"The police department itself is still functioning. I want you to be aware of that — and most importantly, I want the citizens of Richmond to know that the police department is still intact and in effect — and we are here to serve the needs of this community, and that will never change," Britt said to the council.

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Britt closed by thanking Indiana State Police and the Wayne County Sheriff's Office for helping Richmond police respond to calls in the shooting's aftermath.

Other officers who were present the night of the shooting have experienced emotional turmoil, Britt said. A probable cause affidavit alleges one of the responding officers narrowly avoided being shot in the head, as Burton was.

The police department has arranged for critical incident stress debriefing sessions, which are mandatory for all officers. Britt called the participation "impressive" and said a Thursday session will involve not only the officers but their spouses.

An officer from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has helped to conduct the sessions, Britt said.

The Department said Wednesday it continues to ask for prayers for Burton, her family, the department and the community.

WRTV Real-Time Editor Michelle Kaufman contributed to this report.