September 26, 2022

Slain Indiana officer's fiancée recalls her life at funeral

Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton, 28, died on Sept. 18 - Richmond Police Department via Facebook

Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton, 28, died on Sept. 18

Richmond Police Department via Facebook

An eastern Indiana police officer who died last week after being shot in the head during an August traffic stop was remembered by her fiancée Monday during her funeral as an upbeat person who was the love of her life.

Hundreds of mourners, many of them police officers, filled Richmond High School for services for Officer Seara Burton, 28. The Richmond officer died on Sept. 18, more than two weeks after she was removed from life support and later moved to hospice care.

Her fiancée, Sierra Neal, said they felt an immediate connection when they met during the summer of 2021. The couple was days away from getting married when Burton was shot.

Neal said Burton, a four-year Richmond police veteran, loved her job and managed to stay upbeat no matter what happened while she was on duty.

“Behind that badge was the woman of my dreams. A woman who could be treated and talked to in awful ways for eight hours a day at work and could still come home and laugh and be so kind-hearted,” she said tearfully.

Burton's stepmother, Ami Miller, who is herself a Richmond police officer, said she was incredibly proud of her stepdaughter.

“Seara had the determination and drive that all of us should strive for," she said.

After the funeral services, a procession carrying Burton's casket began a roughly 65-mile  journey west to Indianapolis for her burial at Crown Hill Cemetery. There, she will be interred in a section dedicated to public safety heroes.

Burton was critically wounded in an Aug. 10 shooting after other officers stopped Phillip Matthew Lee, 47, and Burton was called to the scene to assist with her police dog.

Court documents allege that Lee pulled out a gun and fired shots toward the officers, shooting Burton. Other officers returned fire and Lee was apprehended following a foot chase.

Prosecutors have charged him with three counts of attempted murder, as well as drug and weapons charges. He has pleaded not guilty. It is unclear whether those charges will be revised to reflect Burton's death.

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