Richmond, IN – A Richmond police officer is fighting for her life after being shot by a suspect during a traffic stop on Wednesday night.
Police said 28-year-old Richmond Police Department (RPD) Officer Seara Burton was listed in “very critical condition” in the wake of the shooting, WTHR reported.
“Those of you who pray, I ask that you pray for her, because she could use it,” Richmond Police Chief Michael Britt told reporters on Wednesday night. “[Officer Burton is in] very critical condition, fighting for her life.”
The incident began at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 10 after police stopped a man who was riding a moped in the area of C Street and North 12th Street, Clay County News reported.
The man operating the moped was later identified as 47-year-old Phillip Lee, WTHR reported.
During the investigation, Officer Burton and her partner, K9 Brev, responded to conduct an “open-air sniff” of the moped, according to Indiana State Police (ISP).
Investigators said the K9 indicated the possible presence of narcotics during the sniff, WTHR reported.
Officers were speaking with Lee when he suddenly pulled out a gun and opened fire on them, an ISP spokesperson told reporters.
Officer Burton was hit by the gunfire and other officers at the scene immediately returned fire, the ISP said.
Lee took off running and was apprehended after a brief foot pursuit.
On scene of officer involved shooting in Richmond. Awaiting updates from Indiana State Police. We know officer & suspect have both been taken to hospital. Conditions unknown. pic.twitter.com/xkljyuBJg2
— Emily Longnecker (@EmilyWTHR) August 11, 2022
Officers provided first aid for his gunshot wounds before he was transported to Reid Hospital in Richmond by ambulance, WTHR reported.
His condition was not immediately released.
Officer Burton was rushed to a local hospital before being airlifted to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, Chief Britt said.
“The police department is obviously devastated,” the chief said, according to WTHR. “She’s a fine officer, and we have a family environment here.”
Please keep Officer Seara Burton (Richmond, IN PD) & her family in your prayers. Her K9 partner, Brev, alerted on a suspect who then shot her. She’s in critical condition in a Dayton area hospital. Our second IN officer shot in less than two weeks.@bigricanman @MSPTrooper21 pic.twitter.com/vjkPmDUcSF
— Kevin Perry (@nukebubblehead) August 11, 2022
Officer Burton has been with the RPD for four years, according to Clay County News.
She recently became a member of the department’s K9 Unit and she and K9 Brev graduated from training in April, WTHR reported.
My prayers are with Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton for her healing and recovery in Jesus' name. pic.twitter.com/T7zp52ud9i
— Rev Dr Charles Harrison (@charlesharriso5) August 11, 2022
Officer Burton has also been planning a wedding and is scheduled to be married in the coming weeks, Chief Britt said.
Richmond Mayor Dave Snow said Officer Burton has been “a tremendous” public servant, WTHR reported.
“She has supported this community, she has worked hard for this community and tonight, we need to return that to her,” Snow said. “Tonight, she needs our prayers, our department needs our prayers.”
The mayor said he is very thankful that police were able to apprehend the alleged gunman, WTHR reported.
That level of violence “just won’t be tolerated in the city of Richmond,” he added.
The ISP is handling the ongoing investigation into the incident.