Over a month after he was shot in the head during a traffic stop in August, an Indiana police officer has died.
On Sunday night, Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton, 28, passed away at Reid Health surrounded by her family.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb released a statement saying, “Our hearts are heavy as we grieve alongside Officer Seara Burton’s family, colleagues, loved ones, and the Richmond community she so nobly served.”
Officer Burton served with the Richmond Police Department for four years and died while honoring her pledge to “serve and protect.”
On the evening of August 10, Phillip Lee, 47, shot Burton in the head during a traffic check for drugs. She was supposed to wed Sierra Neal nine days later.
Several police cars preceded and followed Burton’s Hearse as it left the hospital on Monday in a procession led by the police department.
When Burton’s body was being returned to Dayton from the hospital, residents, medical personnel, and police officers lined the streets to pay their respects.
On August, the Richmond Police Narcotics Unit received a call that the fallen officer would be needed in the 200 block of North 12th Street. The unit had seen Lee stop at a garage where they suspected a narcotics deal was taking place.
Burton and her canine, Brev, did an outdoor smell test of Lee and his car. Lee pulled out his weapon and fired several shots at Burton after the K9 alerted him to the presence of illegal drugs.
After Lee ran away, police opened fire and killed him. The police arrested him on suspicion of attempted murder, felony firearm possession, and methamphetamine possession.
His bond has been set at $1.5 million.
According to the Richmond Police Department, the police officer was airlifted to Miami Valley Hospital, but on September 1 her life support was turned off because her injuries were “found to be unrecoverable.”
As Burton was brought out of her bed with a flag draped over her body, hospital employees and officers gathered for an honor walk.
People filed up to the wall to pay their respects, headed by Burton’s dog.
Her organs were harvested after she was moved to a new facility.
There were about 310 motorcycles and 75 Jeeps at the memorial for Burton on Sunday in Indianapolis.
Peter George, who posted a video showing a motorcycle carrying children as passengers on Facebook, reflected on the clip, writing, “It’s hard to not be emotional, it’s hard to not be moved.”
Saying “yes sir” and “yes ma’am,” taking care of one another, and supporting one’s local law enforcement and “thin blue line” are all part of life in Richmond, Indiana, and other small towns around the United States. Neither they nor Seara can ever make us lose faith. In perpetuity, we shall back up the unsung heroes among us and fight for their recognition and protection.
After leaving American Legion Post 65, the group rode their horses to Fort Harrison.
The Richmond Police Department works with their counterparts in Wayne and Union Counties, as well as the State Police, to plan and execute the trip.