RICHMOND, Ind. — Attempted murder charges have been filed against a man accused in the shooting of a Richmond police officer, and officials say video of the incident reportedly captured him aiming at the heads of officers.
Phillip Lee, 47, is accused of shooting Richmond officer Seara Burton in the head during a traffic stop in front of his home, and court documents say she was not his only target.
Lee was formally charged Thursday with a slew of offenses — the most serious being two counts of attempted murder.
Court documents show that around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Richmond Police Narcotics Units were observing a residence on N. 17th. Street with a high amount of traffic of people coming and going.
One of the people seen going into an alley to a detached garage on the property was Phillip Lee, a known drug offender, according to court documents.
Due to the amount of time he spent at the garage, police believed a drug transaction had taken place and followed Lee on his motor scooter to his home on N. 12th Street for a traffic stop.
“During this traffic stop, a Richmond Police K9 officer was called to the scene and a Richmond Police
narcotics officer video recorded the vehicle stop from some distance north of the stop,” reads the affidavit of probable cause.
Officer Seara Burton arrived on scene with her K-9 Brev, and court documents say the dog detected narcotics on Lee’s scooter.
Within one minute of the drugs being detected, police say Lee can be seen on video drawing a concealed handgun from his waist and firing several shots at close range at Officer Burton and another police officer, Austin Adams.
Burton was shot once in the head, and Adams “narrowly missed being shot in the head,” according to court documents.
Lee is then accused of firing at another officer that’s out of frame before running around the corner as a gunfight ensued.
Police shot Lee and took him into custody on his front porch. Officers recovered the gun used in the shooting, a black Ruger Max 9 9mm, with a 10 round magazine in it.
Court documents show the following drugs and paraphernalia were found in Lee’s scooter:
- Seven syringes
- Two small plastic bags containing a substance that tested presumptively positive for methamphetamine
- One small plastic bag containing a substance that field tested presumptively positive for cocaine
- One small plastic bag containing a substance that tested presumptively positive for heroin
“If an individual is willing to shoot a police officer, these are extremely serious charges,” said attorney Mario Massillamany. “Other than murder, attempted murder is extremely serious.”
Massillamany is not connected to the case, but said the initial charges can always be changed.
“We understand the officer is in critical condition and she might not survive,” Massillamany said. “The prosecutor does have the ability to amend the charging information to allow for murder charges to be brought against this individual.”
The State of Indiana asked for a $1 million bond to be set because of Lee’s habitual offender status, Lee having a prior conviction for escape, and due to his using a firearm as a convicted felon.
Officer Burton remains in the hospital in critical condition. Richmond Police Chief Mike Britt said on Thursday that Burton successfully underwent surgery but “has not regained consciousness and is still fighting for her life.”
In addition to the two counts of attempted murder, Lee has also been charged with:
- Possession of firearm by serious violent felon
- Possession of methamphetamine
- Possession of cocaine
- Possession of a narcotic drug
Because the suspect remains hospitalized in Richmond, the court clerk confirms an initial court date has not been set.