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Vt. DCF worker shot and killed in Barre - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. DCF worker shot and killed in Barre

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BARRE, Vt. -

Long after two fatal shots rang out outside Barre's City Place Friday afternoon, social worker Lara Sobel's shoe, and the rifle police say Jody Herring shot her with, remained on scene.

Barre Police Chief Tim Bombardier says Herring fired the shots at close range, and then witnesses stopped her from fleeing or firing more.

"She was apprehended by people outside and people inside the building that saw what was going on," said Bombardier. "My understanding was that they tackled her."

The crime scene in the heart of downtown Barre drew crowds of onlookers as day turned to night, and the investigation continued.

Investigators say the alleged shooter is well known to police and has had multiple child welfare issues. A judge ordered the removal of her 9-year-old child in July and police believe that led her to shoot Sobel Friday.

"This is obviously a heart-breaking tragedy, I think that it is inconceivable that an event like this could happen here," said Ken Schatz, commissioner of the Vt. Dept. for Children and Families.

Schatz called Sobel an experienced worker. He says grief counselors are being made available to his staff.

"We'll do the best we can to support each other," said Schatz.

The state will assess security at all its state offices following the shooting.

Police say they have plenty of evidence but will stay on-scene until the job is done. 

"We're still going to cross our Ts, dot our Is, detectives are going to work through the night doing interviews," said Bombardier.

Herring will face charges in a Barre courtroom Monday. Police say there's no indication she acted with anyone else.

Friday night, Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont, who's out of state on vacation, issued this statement on the shooting:

"While we won't know all the details for some time, the initial reports are horrific and break my heart. I've asked the Department of Human Resources to immediately make available crisis and grief counseling services to state employees affected by this incident. I have also asked the Agency of Administration to work with Vermont State Police to support the investigation. While there is no indication of a broader threat, the Agency of Administration will review security procedures in state buildings in light of this tragic event and provide any additional measures immediately. Additionally, until we know more about this incident, DCF staff have been directed to only go out on emergency calls this weekend accompanied by law enforcement.

"The employees at DCF deal with the most challenging family situations that one can imagine. They do the work out of their dedication to the children and families of this great state. To lose one of our own in the course of that duty is shocking and heartbreaking."

Acting Governor -- Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont -- coordinated with the governor's office to respond to the shooting:

"This is an incredibly difficult day as we try to comprehend the loss of one of our state employees in what appears to be a senseless act of violence. Lara Sobel spent her life helping others. Today, her life was stolen – not only from her – but from her children, her spouse, her family, her friends, her co-workers, as well as the countless children and families she helped and had yet to help. While we mourn and wait patiently for answers, we should feel fortunate to have such dedicated public servants as Lara in Vermont, and we must continue to strive to protect those who give so much to protect others."

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