On Thursday night, Richmond Police Chief Mike Britt provided an update on wounded Officer Seara Burton and the impact of that “whirlwind 24 hours” on the department.

Britt said Burton is still in extremely critical condition at a Dayton hospital after suffering a gunshot wound to her head.

“Surgery has been performed and she is initially showing slight signs of responsiveness,” Britt said. “She has not regained consciousness and is still fighting for her life.”

Indiana State Police took command of the scene and the investigation after suspect Phillip M. Lee allegedly shot Burton, who also serves as a K9 handler, during a traffic stop.

Britt noted that the shooting was traumatic to not only Burton, but to the many officers who responded to the scene to assist where they could.

“The critical injuring of our sister in blue was not easy to see,” Britt said, noting he has chosen to temporarily re-assign most officers involved with the incident to other duties, along with Employee Assistance Programs to help with their mental health.

Britt reassured citizens that the city is well protected and they will have a police response when needed. A group of ISP troopers have been assigned to augment the city’s responses for the next few days, so a trooper could show up if emergency services are needed.

Britt noted that Wayne County Sheriff Randy Retter and his agency also have committed personnel to Richmond as well to ensure total coverage of citizens’ needs.

“The City of Richmond will still have abundant law enforcement while we sort things out,” Britt said.

Britt again expressed gratitude for what he called a selfless outpouring of support, not only by law enforcement brothers and sisters, but from many members of our community, including local businesses.

“This truly defines our communities’ interest in the well-being of their first responders and fellow citizens,” Britt said. “For this, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I have been asked many times in the last 24 hours ‘What do you need?’ and ‘What can I do to help?”

“All of our immediate needs have been met. What we need the most is your prayers for our brave Officer who is suffering at this moment. Obviously, Richmond Indiana is a community that cares, and I thank you! We will all get through this.”

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Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.