Richmond, IN – The 28-year-old Richmond police officer who was shot in the head three weeks ago while assisting with a traffic stop cannot recover from her injuries will be removed from life support.
“Despite the very best efforts of all the doctors and nurses at Miami Valley Hospital, Officer Seara Burton’s injuries have been determined to be unrecoverable,” Maj. Bales said. “Tomorrow, Thursday, September 1, 2022, Seara will be taken off of life support.”
The heroic officer “will live on and continue to be a hero with her selfless gift of organ donation,” he added.
The events leading up to the shooting 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 in the head 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.
Officers provided first aid for his gunshot wounds before he was transported to Reid Hospital in Richmond by ambulance, WTHR reported.
Officer Burton was rushed to a local hospital before being airlifted to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio in extremely critical condition, RPD Chief Michael 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.”
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.
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,” Snow said.
The shooting occurred less than two weeks before Officer Burton was scheduled to be married.
Her fiancé, Sierra Neal, wore a white wedding gown and carried a bouquet of flowers to Officer Burton’s bedside on what should have been their wedding day.
“This walk was supposed to look a lot different, but I will always be thankful we still got to celebrate,” Neal wrote in a video caption on TikTok. “Even if it is not legal on paper, you are my wife. I love you Seara.”
Lee, a convicted felon who police described as a known drug dealer, has been charged with multiple offenses, to include two counts of attempted murder, WXIN reported.
Police said Lee was carrying a 9mm handgun, seven syringes, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine at the time of his arrest.