RICHMOND, Indiana (WDTN) — The Richmond community and police department have been placing Officer Seara Burton signs all over the downtown area. Many local businesses have started hanging blue flags, a sign of support during this difficult time.
Less than 24 hours after the officer-involved shooting that left Burton in critical condition. Whitewater Valley Rehabilitation Physical Therapy decided to send a message.
“We put up the billboard this morning so that we could show our support,” said Marketing Specialist Brittney Cloyd. “A lot of us here have family members who are in the police department or involved in law enforcement so we needed to show our support.”
A blue line billboard now stands across a major street in downtown Richmond, letting every first responder know that Whitewater is sending their thoughts and prayers. Cloyd comes from a long line of law enforcement in her family and said this is any first responder’s family’s worst nightmare.
“It’s a tragedy and hits very close to home for me with my dad being an officer also,” said Cloyd.
Less than half a mile from the Richmond Police Department, Officer Burton was a known regular at The Olde Richmond Inn restaurant. General Manager Amy Hickman said she remembers seeing Burton just the other night and was clearly shaken from last night’s shooting.
“Prayers to her and her family, her fiancee, to all the other officers, stay safe and stay strong, we can get through this, we are strong and we are Richmond,” said Hickman.
Mayor Dave Snow spoke in Wednesday’s news conference saying Officer Burton is the heart of this Richmond community and he’s asking for the city’s thoughts and prayers for all first responders at this time. He issued this statement:
“The last several hours have felt like an eternity for our team as we’ve all struggled with the reality of this tragic event. Office Burton, her family, the Richmond Police Department, and our city team have received a tremendous outpouring of love and support from this community, local and state elected officials, and citizens from other cities around Indiana. Richmond has stepped up in droves to support our officers. Over the next week, you may see a larger presence of Indiana State Police in the city as they assist our department. I want to thank State Superintendent Doug Carter and our State police for their services during this difficult time,” he said.
“We thank everyone for your continued prayers and messages of solidarity and comfort. It means a lot right now, and we know our police department will continue to need your kindness in the days to come. Officer Burton is a brave young officer who put her life on the line daily so all of us could live in a safer community. Right now, she is in a difficult fight, and we are all fighting with her. If you are privileged to know Officer Burton, you know she is a strong, resilient woman, and it’s her strength and your prayers that will give her the best chance to win this fight. If you would like to show your support, a prayer vigil is being held at the South entrance of the City Building at 7 pm on Friday, August 12. We continue to be humbled by the service of our officers and their families to our community. We are a stronger community because of their commitment and dedication to all of us.”
Richmond police said Burton assisted a traffic stop around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night at the intersection of 12th St. and C St. During that stop, police said the 47-year-old Phillip Lee pulled out a firearm and fired several shots, hitting Burton in the head. Officers returned fire, the suspect ran away but was caught quickly.
Both Officer Burton and the suspect were transported to local hospitals, Burton was later taken by CareFlight to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.
According to our sister station in Indiana, Richmond Police Chief Michael Britt said Thursday that Burton underwent surgery and is showing slight signs of responsiveness. However, she has not regained consciousness and is still “fighting for her life.”
Officer Burton remains in critical condition at Miami Valley Hospital and the suspect’s condition remains unknown.