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Richmond police officer ‘fighting for her life,’ shot while making traffic stop

RICHMOND, Ind. (WISH) — A police officer was “in very critical condition and fighting for her life,” and a suspect was also shot Wednesday night in Richmond, authorities say.

The officer, Seara Burton, 28, and other officers were making a traffic stop of a moped in a residential area when Phillip M. Lee, 47, of Richmond, drew a weapon and fired multiple times at Burton, said Sgt. Scott Keegan of the state police. The assisting officers at the scene returned fire, and the suspect fled on foot until he was caught by the police.

Richmond Police Chief Michael Britt said, “The thing we know for certain is my officer is in very critical condition and fighting for her life. Those of your who pray, I ask that you pray for her because she could use it.”

He says the police force is devastated.

Britt says Burton has been in the Richmond Police Department for four years and recently joined the force’s K-9 unit, meaning she has a police dog. During the traffic stop, the dog, Brev, conducted an open-air sniff around the moped and found the possible presence of narcotics, state police say.

She was engaged to be married next weekend, the police chief believes. Burton is the stepdaughter of another officer.

Mayor Dave Snow said, “Officer Burton has been a tremendous officer. She has supported this community. She’s worked hard for this community, and tonight we need to return that to her.”

The Democrat mayor says he’s happy officers apprehended the suspect.

The traffic stop happened about 6:30 p.m. at North 12th and North C streets. That’s northeast of U.S. 27 and U.S. 40 near downtown.

Burton was flown to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio.

Officers at the scene treated Lee for gunshot wounds and he later was taken to Reid Health hospital in Richmond, state police say. No charges had been filed by Wednesday night.

State police are handling the investigation.

Officer Seara Burton and Brev (Provided Photo/Richmond Police Department via Facebook)
Authorities investigate a police shooting at North 12th and North C streets in Richmond, Indiana, on the night of Aug. 10, 2022. (WISH Photo)
Investigators on the night of Aug. 10, 2022, work at the scene of a police shooting in Richmond, Indiana. (WISH Photo/Reece Lindquist)
Phillip M. Lee (Provided Photo/Wayne County Sheriff’s Department)

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