Richmond police officer, shot during traffic stop, in critical condition, suspect identified
RICHMOND — A Richmond police officer remains in critical condition after she was shot during a traffic stop Wednesday night, the third area officer shot in the line of duty in less than a month. The suspected shooter was also shot and was hospitalized after the incident, according to investigators.
>> Richmond officer third local officer shot in line of duty in less than a month
Seara Burton, 28, and a four-year veteran of the Richmond Police Department, was identified as the officer shot Wednesday around 6:30 pm Burton was flown by medical helicopter to Miami Valley Hospital where she was listed in “very critical condition,” the Pendleton Post of Indiana State Police confirmed.
>> PHOTOS: Richmond police officer seriously hurt after being shot during traffic stop
“We need this community to pray for her. I ask that you pray for the officer,” Richmond Police Chief Michael Britt said to News Center 7′s Brandon Lewis and other media gathered near the scene of the shooting Wednesday night.
Police say Burton was responding to a call from other officers to assist with a traffic stop in the area of North 12th Street and C Street. Burton located the vehicle, which was a moped being ridden by a man, and made a traffic stop at that location.
During the traffic stop, Burton’s K9 partner was used to conduct an open-air sniff around the moped and indicated the possible presence of narcotics, according to police. The suspect was identified by police as 47-year old Philip M. Lee of Richmond.
>> Local law enforcement offers prayers to Richmond police officer shot during traffic stop
While officers were speaking with Lee, he allegedly pulled out a firearm and shot several rounds toward officers, police said. Burton was struck by the gunfire.
Other officers on the scene returned fire and Lee fled on foot, according to police. After a brief foot chase, Lee was apprehended and treated for gunshot wounds by the officers. He was later transported by ambulance to Reid Hospital in Richmond.
Lee is in custody and the Wayne County Prosecutor will determine charges upon review of the case, police confirmed.
ISP, which has taken over the investigation, does not know what led to the traffic stop, Indiana State Police Sgt. Scott Keegan said.
Chief Britt said there were a lot of facts yet to be determined, but noted, “it is not a common thing” for Richmond police officers to be shot in the line of duty.
He called Officer Burton, a K-9 handler, “a fine officer” who is engaged and was to be married, “I believe, next weekend.”
Major Dave Snow, who also attended the media briefing, said “this is a heavy evening in our community. [Officer Burton] you have worked hard for this community.”
“This will not be tolerated,” he said of the shooting.
News Center 7 will continue updating this story as we learn more.
©2022 Cox Media Group