RICHMOND, Indiana (WDTN) — An officer shot in the line of duty in Indiana is still alive and surrounded by family at Miami Valley Hospital as of Friday morning.
Richmond Police Chief Michael Britt posted to Facebook Thursday afternoon, “at this time Officer Burton is still alive and surrounded by family.”
Richmond Mayor Dave Snow also released a statement Thursday, which confirmed Burton was taken off life support Thursday morning and is “still with us.”
“We know the time of her passing is imminent; however, right now, her family is spending precious time with her. Please help us maintain calm, respect, and privacy as Officer Burton rests quietly with her family,” Mayor David Snow said.
“This situation is changing by the moment, and as soon as we have an official update, a press and social media release will come directly from Police Chief Mike Britt. His release will be followed by my comments and request for a public display of mourning. I know this is a very difficult time for our community; right now, we all need to give her family as much peace as possible.”
Thursday morning, Burton was taken on an Honor Walk through Miami Valley Hospital, which is done for organ donors before they are taken to the operating room for the organ recovery.
“It’s kind of a ceremonial thing that they’ve done when an officer’s removed from life support.” Dayton FOP President Kyle Thomas said. “The hallways of the intensive care unit or the hospital room they’re in all the way to the operating room are typically lined with officers and family to show their support.”
Video provided by Premier Health shows fellow law enforcement officers lining the halls of Miami Valley Hospital as Burton is brought through to the operating room.
The Richmond Police Department announced Wednesday that Burton would be taken off life support.
“Despite the very best efforts of all the doctors and nurses at Miami Valley Hospital, Officer Seara Burton’s injuries have been determined to be unrecoverable,” the department said on Facebook.
“Seara will live on and continue to be a hero with her selfless gift of organ donation. Officer Burton will continue to serve others long after her passing.”
Several community members stopped at the prayer wall in front of the Richmond Police Department Wednesday evening after hearing the announcement.
“I saw on the news about Sierra going to come off of life support tomorrow and I’m retired law enforcement. I know that it could have happened to me. So I came by to light a candle,” a woman told 2 NEWS as she lit candles and placed a sunflower decoration at the prayer wall. “Everyone’s really been pulling for her and the family and just praying for the Richmond Police Department and everyone that knew her.”
Officer Burton and her fiancé visited Old Richmond Inn for dinner just days before she was shot. She was known to frequent the restaurant. Staff there told 2 NEWS the entire restaurant was saddened to hear Burton would be taken off life support.
“Never expect this to come from our community just because it’s never happened before. So I guess, you know, expect the unexpected,” Jennifer, a server at the Old Richmond Inn, said. “I know the police officers, they come into this workforce knowing, you know, to protect them, to serve, but for it to actually happen so close to home, it’s just devastating.”
Three weeks ago, Officer Burton was shot by a suspect after a K9 alerted to possible narcotics during a traffic stop. Other officers returned fire and the suspect, 47-year-old Phillip Lee, fled the scene. He was quickly caught by police.
Burton was brought to a local hospital with a gunshot wound to the head. She was then airlifted to Miami Valley Hospital in very critical condition.
This incident occurred just a few days before the 28-year-old was set to be married to her fiancée, Sierra Neal.
“Seara is the strongest person I know and she continues to prove that every single day,” Neal said. “She is the most beautiful human inside and out and anyone who has ever been lucky enough to know her will tell you the same.”
“Seara Burton I love you more than anything in this entire world and I am so very proud of you. You are my person.”
That week, the community found some hope as the officer appeared to show improvement, as Burton had gone under surgery and was showing slight signs of responsiveness. Chief Britt said the officer had not yet regained consciousness and was still fighting for her life.