Indiana officer shot dead during traffic stop in August


RICHMOND, Ind. — An eastern Indiana police officer who was shot in the head during a traffic stop in August has died more than two weeks after being taken off a ventilator.

Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton died Sunday night in a Reid Health facility surrounded by her family, the department said in a statement on Facebook.

“We would like to sincerely thank the Richmond community and those who have supported Seara, her family and the department from far and wide,” said several officials’ statement.

Burton was seriously injured in the August 10 shooting. The 28-year-old officer was transferred to a hospice two days after she was taken off a ventilator at a hospital in Dayton, Ohio, on Sept. 1.

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Burton’s remains were said to be escorted Monday afternoon by Richmond Police and other agencies in the Dayton area.

Burton was a four-year veteran of the Department in Richmond, about 65 miles east of Indianapolis.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said he and his wife, Janet, are grieving with Burton’s family, colleagues and the Richmond community, saying in a statement that “our hearts are heavy.”

“Janet and I extend our condolences to Agent Burton’s family and loved ones as they search for peace and strength from a power greater than anything we can muster,” he said.

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Prosecutors have charged Phillip Matthew Lee, 47, with three counts of attempted murder, three counts of drug possession for methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin, and possession of a firearm by a serious violent criminal. He has pleaded not guilty.

A message asking if Lee was now expected to face a murder charge was left in front of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office Monday morning by The The Bharat Express News.

Authorities have said officers detained Lee and called Burton to help with her police dog. The dog pointed to the possible presence of narcotics. Court documents say that while officers spoke to the rider, he pulled out a pistol and opened fire on the officers, shooting Burton. Other officers fired back and he ran away. Lee was apprehended after a short chase.

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No other officers were shot.

Lee was being treated for gunshot wounds, police said.


The story was updated to correct that the statement said Burton died in a Reid Health facility, not a specific location.


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