Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Jody Herring's Ex-Boyfriend Arrested After Armed Standoff

Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
Times Argus
Henry Premont was taken into custody after an armed standoff with police at Rickie's Indian Restaurant and Shell station in South Barre Wednesday. Premont is a former boyfriend of Jody Herring, who has been charged with the murder of a DCF employee.

A man identified as a former boyfriend of Barre Town murder suspect Jody Herring has been arrested after an armed standoff with police at Rickie’s Indian Restaurant and Shell station in South Barre Wednesday afternoon. Henry Premont was taken into police custody after more than an hour. No one was injured and no shots were fired. The suspect’s name was confirmed in a news release issued by Gov. Peter Shumlin Wednesday evening, as well as a release by the Vermont State Police.

State police reported the Orange County Sheriff’s Department received a call at 1:19 p.m. Wednesday from a Williamstown man who said a relative — Premont, 51, of Williamstown — was sitting outside his residence on Snowbridge Road in a vehicle with a gun. Premont reportedly left the area, and state police began searching for him. Shortly after 1:30 p.m., he was located at the Shell station’s convenience store. Police made contact with the suspect in the parking lot, drawing weapons as he reportedly drew a handgun from within his shirt. Premont, described as agitated, was contained, and people were moved out of the vicinity, according to the news release. 

Law enforcement and a state police crisis negotiator spoke with Premont on the phone, and he eventually surrendered himself and his weapon, a semi-automatic .380 handgun, to authorities, according to the report. At this time a criminal investigation by the Vermont State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation is underway. 

State police revealed Premont is the former boyfriend of Herring, charged with the Aug. 7 shooting of Department for Children and Families caseworker Lara Sobel. No other information was available, according to the release.

College student Sunny Singh was working the cash register right before the incident. A male customer he said they knew by the name Henry brought beer and cigarettes to the counter.

“He’s a regular,” Singh said. “He always gets cigarettes and beer.”

While the customer was standing at the register, police cars pulled into the parking lot of the business.

“He says, ‘I think they’re coming for me,’” Singh recalled. Premont reportedly asked Singh to give him his change and said he would then go outside.

“He goes outside, I look out the window and the police have a gun pointed on him already. Then I see [Premont] take his gun out of his holster.”

At that point, Singh and other people ran to the back of the store and hid in the cooler.

State and local police were joined at the scene by police from Berlin and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, according to officials. 

Portions of routes 14 and 63, as well as Middle Road, were closed to through traffic during the incident. Doors on the side of McDonald’s facing Route 14 were locked as a precaution.

Bystanders watched from the McDonald’s parking lot. Some witnessed the standoff from its beginning. 

Lisa McCall said Premont sat at a picnic table in front of the store, drinking something while talking to police. “There were three officers by an SUV, and two officers behind that, then Barre Town police came. All of them were pointing their guns at him,” she said. 

Singh, shoppers and store workers hid in the cooler of the Shell station for about 45 minutes while remaining in contact with police before a police officer kicked down the door to let them out, Singh said.

A little after 2 p.m., the sounds of clicking were audible from the scene. According to unconfirmed reports, police unsuccessfully attempted to subdue the man with a stun gun. 

By around 2:30 p.m., police successfully took the suspect into custody. He kept a cigarette in his mouth when he was handcuffed.

In his release, Shumlin praised the work of law enforcement officers.

“Police were able to locate Mr. Premont, remove his weapon and guarantee he was no longer a threat,” said Shumlin, who went on to acknowledge that recent days have been difficult for central Vermonters, without specifically mentioning the four recent murders in Berlin and Barre. He reiterated steps the state is taking to enforce security for workers.

“I know that today’s incident may add to that feeling of uncertainty, but I am thankful that this situation ended swiftly and without injury,” Shumlin added.

Shafali Saini, who works at Rickie’s Indian Restaurant, said the suspect used to be a “really nice, friendly person.” 

“Just the past month, he’s been really agitated,” she said. “He won’t even reply back [when he purchases items.]” 

She said Premont was drinking alcohol while talking to the police. 

“Honestly, Barre is too crazy right now,” Singh said, reflecting on the four recent homicides, as well as this incident. “It’s kind of scary.”

Gina Conn is a reporter at the Barre Montpelier Times Argus, where this story originally appeared. It has been republished under a partnership with the bureau.

Latest Stories