Indiana officer shot during traffic stop in August has died
RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) — An eastern Indiana police officer who was shot in the head during a traffic stop in August has died more than two weeks after she was removed from life support, authorities said.
Richmond Police Department Officer Seara Burton died Sunday night at a Reid Health facility surrounded by her family, the department said in a statement posted to Facebook.
“We would sincerely like to thank the Richmond community, and those who have supported Seara, her family, and the department from near and far,” the statement from several officials said.
Burton was critically wounded in the shooting Aug. 10. The 28-year-old officer was moved to hospice care, two days after she was removed from life support on Sept. 1 at a hospital in Dayton, Ohio.
Burton’s remains were escorted by Richmond police and other agencies from the Dayton area to a Richmond funeral home Monday afternoon, WISH-TV reported.
Burton was a four-year veteran of the department in Richmond, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) east of Indianapolis.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said he and his wife, Janet, are mourning with Burton’s family, colleagues and the Richmond community, saying in a statement that “our hearts are heavy.”
“Janet and I send our condolences to Officer Burton’s family and loved ones as they search for peace and strength from a power greater than all we can muster,” he said.
Prosecutors have charged Phillip Matthew Lee, 47, with three counts of attempted murder, three drug possession counts for methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin and possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. He has pleaded not guilty.
A message seeking comment on whether Lee was now expected to face a murder charge was left Monday morning for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office by The Associated Press.
Authorities have said officers stopped Lee and called Burton to assist with her police dog. The dog indicated the possible presence of narcotics. Court documents say that while officers were speaking with the rider, he pulled out a gun and opened fire toward the officers, shooting Burton. Other officers returned fire and he ran away. Lee was apprehended following a brief foot chase.
No other officers were shot.
Lee was treated for gunshot wounds, police said.
The story has been updated to correct that the statement said Burton died at a Reid Health facility, not a specific location.