Attempted murder charges filed against Richmond man for shooting of RPD officer

·3 min read

RICHMOND, Ind. — A Richmond man pulled out a handgun and fired at close range toward two Richmond Police Department officers' heads Wednesday evening, striking one and missing the other.

As a result, Phillip Matthew Lee, 47, of the 200 block of South 12th Street has been formally charged with two Level 1 felony counts of attempted murder. The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office has also charged Lee with Level 4 felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and with three Level 5 felony possession counts, one each for methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin.

Lee, who was also wounded Wednesday, is also accused of being a habitual offender based on previous felony convictions for burglary, possession of cocaine, attempted burglary and either possession of a syringe and possession of a narcotic drug from the same case. In total, Lee has 12 previous felony convictions and eight previous misdemeanor convictions.

Judge Gregory Horn found probable cause for Lee's charges about 8 p.m. Thursday. The judge obliged a prosecution request by setting Lee's bond at $1 million.

Lee's case has been assigned to Superior Court 2. No initial hearing date has yet been set.

Officer Seara Burton, 28, was struck once in the head, according to the affidavit of probable cause. She continues to fight for her life at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, according to a statement from RPD Chief Mike Britt.

More:Vigil for Officer Seara Burton set for Friday night at police station

"Firstly, Officer Seara Burton is still in extremely critical condition at a Dayton hospital after suffering a gunshot wound to her head," Britt wrote in a Thursday evening social media post. "Surgery has been performed and she is initially showing slight signs of responsiveness. She has not regained consciousness and is still fighting for her life."

Another of Lee's bullets narrowly missed Officer Austin Adams, the affidavit said. Adams is the RPD officer who was seriously injured April 5 when he was thrown from a stolen semi-tractor trailer.

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The events leading up to the gunshots began with a Wayne County Drug Task Force investigation in the 400 block of North 17th Street, according to the affidavit. Lee was observed riding a scooter down the alley and stopping at a detached garage. There, he spoke to the resident, then rode away.

Drug Task Force officers believed a drug transaction had occurred and requested marked RPD units initiate a traffic stop on Lee's scooter, the affidavit said. The stop occurred about 6:30 p.m. in front of Lee's apartment at 218 N. 12th St. and was video recorded by a Drug Task Force officer.

Burton and her K-9 partner, Brev, were requested to the scene, where Brev conducted a free-air sniff of Lee's scooter and indicated to the odor of narcotics, according to the affidavit.

At that point, video shows Lee pulled a handgun from the area of his waist and pocket, firing multiple close-range shots toward Burton's and Adams' heads, the affidavit said. Lee then fired at officers out of the recording's frame as they shot at him.

Lee ran around the corner of 214 N. 12th St. and engaged in another gunfight with officers before running toward his apartment, according to the affidavit. He was shot, then apprehended on the front porch of the apartment building.

A search of Lee's scooter located seven syringes, two baggies of methamphetamine, one baggie of cocaine and one baggie of heroin, the affidavit said.

Lee's possession charges are Level 5 felonies because there was less than 5 grams of each drug and Lee was in possession of a firearm at the time.

A Level 1 felony conviction carries a 30-year advisory sentence and a sentencing range of 20 to 40 years.

A traffic stop on a scooter resulted in an exchange of gunfire Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, on North 12th Street.
A traffic stop on a scooter resulted in an exchange of gunfire Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, on North 12th Street.

This article originally appeared on Richmond Palladium-Item: Attempted murder charges filed in shooting of RPD officer