Crime And Law

Richmond police officer shooting leaves city leaders, residents, police staggering

RICHMOND — City leaders, neighborhood residents, Richmond police, state and local leaders continue to be staggered in the wake of the violence that left Police Officer Seara Burton in critical condition after she was shot Wednesday night.

>> Richmond officer third local officer shot in line of duty inside a month

Thursday evening, Mayor Dave Snow said a prayer vigil will be held at the south entrance of the City Building on Friday at 7 p.m.

“Over the next week, you may see a larger presence of Indiana State Police in the city as they assist our department,” the mayor 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.”

The police department also is asking the community to continue praying for Officer Burton, who remained in Miami Valley Hospital on Thursday night. Officers put stickers on their police cruisers asking for prayers as well.

>> FIRST REPORT: Richmond police officer shot during traffic stop, in critical condition

The department on east Main Street was a somber place Thursday as the thoughts of officers were all with Officer Burton, the four-year department veteran shot and wounded in an incident one woman said escalated quickly.

“She definitely didn’t deserve what happened,” Michelle Partin told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell on Thursday. “She just did her job.”

Partin said she saw the shooting and could barely keep herself from falling to the ground as she watched the gunman, identified by police as Phillip Matthew Lee, shoot Officer Burton.

“The look on his face and the look in his eyes,” Partin said. “The man was not afraid of anything.”

Partin said she heard 15 or more gunshots from Lee and from other officers returning fire toward Lee, who has a long record of criminal charges and convictions. They chase him down and took him away in an ambulance. Lee, 47, remains in the Wayne County (Indiana) Jail on several charges involving guns and drugs as well as two counts of attempted murder.

Partin watched as officers and paramedics treated the fallen officer.

“I saw the officer laying right there. It was real. It was happening. There’s no going back and I had to hold myself up with both hands on the wall.”

Partin said she and her family will join in offering prayers for Officer Burton.

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