Criminal Justice

Prosecutor gets Carnegie hero award for disarming woman

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A Vermont prosecutor who grabbed a rifle from an assailant is among 25 people who are receiving a Carnegie Medal for heroism.

Washington County, Vermont, State’s Attorney Scott Williams received the award for disarming a woman who shot a social worker with a hunting rifle, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announced (PDF) on Wednesday. The Associated Press has a story.

The incident occurred in Barre, Vermont, in August 2015, according to the commission. Williams was on the ground floor of a commercial building when he heard a gunshot. Looking out the window, he saw the assailant in the parking lot standing over social worker Lara Sobel.

Williams heard a second shot as he ran to the door. He went outside, approached the assailant, shouted at her, and grabbed the rifle from her. He disabled the gun, set it aside, and remained between Sobel and the assailant. Others intervened and held the assailant until police arrived.

Sobel died from the gunshot wounds. The alleged assailant, Jody Herring, was accused of killing Sobel because she was involved in a case in which Herring lost custody of her 9-year-old daughter, the VTDigger reported last month. The bodies of Jody Herring’s aunt and two cousins were found in their homes the next day. Herring has also been charged with murder in their deaths.

Herring’s lawyer claims she is incompetent to stand trial.

Williams knew both Herring and Sobel before the incident. He is a veteran who was previously treated for post-traumatic stress. He sought mental health counseling after disarming Herring.

Williams had been nominated for the Carnegie award when he spoke with VTDigger. “Given that technically I failed that day in that I got there too late, the idea that someone thought that I was worthy of consideration … I’m just honored by that,” he said.

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