RICHMOND, Ind. — A Richmond police officer who was shot in the head last week remains in a Dayton hospital in extremely critical condition.
But Police Chief Mike Britt told the Richmond Common Council this week that there were “a few glimmers of hope” regarding Officer Seara Burton.
According to Britt, who gave the council an update during Monday night’s meeting, Burton is responding to pain stimulus. Her pupils are reacting to light.
“But make no mistake, it is a grievous head wound and she has a long road back,” Britt said.
Burton, a four-year veteran and recent addition to the Richmond Police Department’s K-9 unit, was shot during a traffic stop on Wednesday, Aug. 10. She and her K-9 partner, Brev, were among several officers who arrived at the scene after stopping Phillip Lee, who opened fire when Brev indicated the possible presence of narcotics.
A bullet struck Burton in the head; a second officer was almost hit as well. Lee faces multiple charges, including attempted murder.
The 28-year-old police officer has deep ties to the department and the Richmond community, Britt said. He referred to her as a “stellar” officer and asked people to continue to pray for her recovery. She was set to get married this week.
“As we wait through this, I found everybody’s prayers have been the most effective tool yet,” Britt said. “We know she is still here by God’s choice.”
The chief said he was thankful for small improvements in Burton’s condition and acknowledged “this is going to be a long road for her and for everyone involved.”
As for Brev, Britt said Burton’s K-9 partner is doing fine and living with a Richmond police officer who previously had a K-9. The chief said he’s had “a lot of people” inquire about the Belgian Malinois’ welfare.
The Richmond Police Department began the critical incident stress debriefing process earlier this week, Britt said. Every officer has been mandated to attend as they try to get a handle on what happened.
The department is getting some additional support from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and Indiana State Police. Both agencies are bolstering patrol shifts and responding to service calls as Richmond officers cope with Burton’s shooting, the chief said.
The department’s focus remains on Burton. Britt said support from the community has been “absolutely amazing.”
“If you were at the prayer vigil the other evening, you saw that,” Britt said. “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I came out the door and saw just how much support this community actually provided.”
The Richmond Police Department said this in part in a release on Facebook Thursday:
The Officers of the Richmond Police Department are navigating through some difficult times as we wait to see Seara’s progress. The Officers of RPD are strong and pulling together to support each other. They have the full and unwavering support of the Administration, The City of Richmond, and the Community as a whole.
Many times over the last week we have been humbled by your support. Please join us in our continued prayers for Seara, her family, the Police Department, and our Community. We will update the public as new information becomes available.