RICHMOND, Ind. — In a community where peoples’ roots run deep and neighbors look out for each other, people are united behind Richmond’s police department and Officer Seara Burton, still fighting for her life after being shot Wednesday during a traffic stop.
Police Chief Michael Britt issued a statement Thursday, saying Britt was still “in extremely critical condition at a Dayton, Ohio hospital after suffering a gunshot wound to her head.”
Britt said doctors had performed surgery on Burton. She had shown slight signs of responsiveness, according to Britt, but had not regained consciousness.
Blue, white and black ribbons hang on a prayer board outside the police department, part of that outpouring of support. Residents have stopped at the station to pick up signs, hundreds of them, to put in their yards. They show a smiling Burton standing next to her partner, K9 Officer Brev, who was with Burton during Wednesday’s traffic stop when she was shot.
“I can’t even say what Brev is feeling, opening his eyes. He knows something bad has happened. He knows it. He can’t see her. She’s not there at the moment. He’s confused. He has to be confused,” said Luis Rodriguez, head trainer at Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, Indiana.
That’s where this past spring, Burton picked Brev to be her partner and trained with him for six weeks.
“I told the guys in the classes, ‘You better work hard because this girl’s going to outdo you’ and that’s what happened. She was amazing,” said kennel owner Ken Licklider.
“From the first week, she took over and did everything that she needed to do. That bond was immediate. The dog did everything that she asked him to do,” Rodriguez added.
“We brought a gift box for the dog, Brev, and we wrote him a card and hope to cheer him up a little bit about what happened since he was there,” said 12-year-old Girl Scout Lila Melton, who came to the police department with two other girls from her troop, all carrying cards for officers.
“We’re supposed to be here for everybody. We’re supposed to be there, and if this is the most we can do, then we’re going to do it,” Melton said.
All of it for an officer these girls look up to. Someone who was their age once, with hopes and dreams. Now these girls’ hopes are for Officer Burton.
“I just hope she’s OK and makes it through. I think she will. I hope she will,” said Melton.
A vigil to honor Officer Burton is planned for 7 p.m. Friday at Richmond’s City Building.
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