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'Stand together united' | Community lines streets to welcome fallen Richmond officer home

Community members lined the streets to honor Officer Seara Burton's service and her sacrifice for Richmond, as her body was brought back to the community she served.

RICHMOND, Ind. — The Richmond community is coming together to honor the life of a Richmond police officer who died five weeks after she was shot in the line of duty. 

Ofc. Seara Burton died Sunday night. More than one month earlier, she was shot during a traffic stop in Richmond. She remained hospitalized in Ohio for weeks and was eventually transferred to hospice, where she passed away. 

RELATED: Richmond PD chief: Ofc. Seara Burton dies 5 weeks after being shot during traffic stop

On Monday night, her body was once again back home in Indiana. Throughout the day, community members in Richmond have been stopping by the police department where Burton's police unit is parked, leaving messages and flowers as they come to thank the officer for her service and sacrifice once again. 

"This is just something that I felt I was called to come out here and let them know that there is good people that support them and do care and do want to rally around them and this is one of those times I needed to be here for them," said Richmond resident Karen Hickey.

Credit: WTHR

It's been a devastating five weeks for the eastern Indiana community.

"It's sad. It's been a sad month. We see all these signs in everybody's yard of her picture and the dog. She's just been on everybody's mind," said Kachina Hembree, who also lives in Richmond.

Soon after Burton died, her body was taken to Dayton, Ohio, where her organs were able to help save the lives of others after her passing. It's one final way Burton was able to put others first.

"I'm just real proud of her," Hembree said.

Community members were out in force to say 'thank you' to Burton and the police department for their service to others. They showed up to honor Burton's service and her sacrifice for Richmond, as her body was brought back to the community she served.

"Honor. I want them to know we're here to honor them and to let them know, what happened wasn't right," said Angela Barrett, a Richmond resident.

Community members lined the streets to thank Burton and welcome her home. 

"There were a lot of us that cried. Even me. But this will be a day that nobody will forget. She will be always in our thoughts and prayers," said Joann Plummer, a Richmond resident.

"I was hoping for a different outcome. I was hoping we would be welcoming her back and she would be healthy and that there would have been a miracle, she would have been a living miracle. It's tragic that there was not the outcome we were hoping for but now, Richmond come together, rally together and I hope that we can stand together united as one," Hickey said. 

On Monday night, Richmond’s city building was completely dark. The only light visible came from streetlights and candles on the sidewalk in honor of Burton, who passed away the day before surrounded by her family.

Many of the same Richmond residents who prayed for Burton’s healing are now praying for her grieving family.

“If her family hears me, I do appreciate her service,” said Christine McNabb, who came to the city building with her husband and baby daughter to pay her respects at Burton’s police car. The car has been in front of the building since the 28-year-old was taken off life support several days ago.

“I’ve been praying for a miracle, and it hurt to see the post of her passing, but God must have had other plans,” McNabb said.

“She made the ultimate sacrifice, and you just want to show your support for her and the family and all of the police officers,” said Tisha Darrah, who also came out with her family to honor Burton.

“She laid her life down for this city,” added George Fleenor, as he stood on the sidewalk, his eyes welling up with tears.

“She tried her hardest to be all she could be and to support the community and help anyone she could,” added Jennifer Crain, standing next to her two daughters, who came to see the tributes to Burton and leave ones of their own.

“We love Seara and Seara’s awesome,” said 6-year-old Belle.

Crain’s oldest daughter, Talisty, has wanted to be a police officer like Burton since she was little.

“Losing Seara right here in our own community gives me a lot to think about, but I want her to follow her dreams,” said Crain.

Just like another young woman named Seara once did, when she took an oath to protect and serve the people of Richmond. People who had been praying since early August she’d recover

The same people who now are honoring her sacrifice and getting ready to say goodbye.

“This young lady right here, she gave the ultimate,” said George Fleenor.

Funeral arrangements for Burton have not yet been announced.

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