RICHMOND, Ind. — Officer Seara Burton is continuing to fight after she was taken off life support last week. On Saturday she was transferred to a hospice facility after spending several weeks in a Dayton, Ohio hospital.
A local Richmond photographer has used her talents behind the lens to help tell Officer Burton’s story after she was shot in the line of duty in early August.
“I just saw how much they loved and cared for one another,” photographer Angela Swango said.
Officer Burton was engaged to be married to her fiancé, Sierra Neal, and the couple had hired Swango to take their engagement and wedding photos.
“They wanted to do them at Kings Island because that’s where they had their first date,” Swango said.
During a summer day, Swango spent time with them at the amusement park capturing the love they had for one another.
“We just had a lot of fun and there was a lot of laughs shared,” Swango said. “You could just tell by the way they interacted and communicated with each other that they truly cared for one another.”
That was several months before their August wedding. About a week before the big day, tragedy struck. While conducting a traffic stop, Officer Burton was shot in the head and critically wounded.
“All of a sudden I get on Facebook and I see a post and my stomach sinks,” Swango recounted. “There’s no way, that can’t be true.”
The wedding Swango was supposed to be capturing was put on hold, possibly forever. When what was supposed to be the big day came, Swango said she couldn’t stop thinking about Seara and her family.
“This is the happiest days of people’s lives and just knowing what that day turned out to be…sitting in a hospital room,” Swango said. “It was just absolutely so emotional to think about.”
In the weeks since the shooting, Swango has turned her lens towards the outpouring of support from the Richmond Community. She was driving around one day and stopped to snap some photos of the growing memorial outside the police station.
“I just got cold chills seeing everybody like putting flowers and little kids are bringing little toys,” Swango said. “Just everybody was trying to come together and bring something in such a time where we all feel so helpless and hopeless.”
Swango said she hopes her photos can help tell Officer Burton’s story that, for so many in the community, is hard to put in to words right now.
Officer Burton’s fiancé recently posted a video on TikTok of an unofficial wedding ceremony that was held at the hospital. Swango said she hopes that everyone will continue to pray for Officer Burton and her family.