OKLAHOMA CITY (TheBlaze/AP) — The fired employee who beheaded a woman with a knife and stabbed another person at an Oklahoma food processing plant on Friday likely would have hurt more people if it weren’t for the company’s heroic — and armed — chief operating officer, who shot and neutralized the suspect before police arrived.
Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said police are waiting until Alton Nolen, 30, is conscious to arrest him in Thursday’s attack and have asked the FBI to help investigate after co-workers at Vaughan Foods in the south Oklahoma City suburb told authorities that he recently started trying to convert several employees to Islam. Nolen had recently converted to Islam, according to the co-workers.
Immediately after being fired, Nolen reportedly drove to the entrance of the business and started attacking co-workers at random. He allegedly beheaded 54-year-old Colleen Hufford and stabbed Traci Johnson, 43, several times before he was shot and stopped by Mark Vaughan, a reserve sheriff’s deputy and the company’s chief operating officer.
“This was not going to stop if he didn’t stop it. It could have gotten a lot worse,” Lewis said. “The threat had already stopped once we arrived.”
The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office also praised Vaughn for his heroic actions in a statement Friday:
“These were heinous criminal acts that were ended by the quick response of Oklahoma County Reserve Deputy Sheriff Mark Vaughan.
I am extremely proud of the actions of Deputy Vaughan and I am convinced those actions saved the lives of several other employees.
Mr. Vaughan, who serves as CEO of Vaughan Foods, was at work and when he was alerted that a man was attacking employees with a knife, Mark didn’t hesitate. He quickly responded.
Mark put an end to the threat by shooting the suspect and saving the life of a second victim who was being actively attacked by the suspect.
There is every reason to believe that the lives of untold others were saved who would have been targeted by the suspect if it hadn’t been for Deputy Vaughan’s actions.”
Nolen managed to survive the shooting and will now face murder charges. It wasn’t immediately clear why the suspect was fired.
Lewis said Moore police have asked the FBI to look into the man’s background because of the nature of the attack, which follows a series of videotaped beheadings by Islamic State militants.
Corrections records show Nolen has what appear to be religious tattoos, including one referencing Jesus and one in Arabic that means “peace be with you,” a phrase regularly used by Muslims as a greeting.
Chilling 911 audio related to the shocking beheading in Moore, Oklahoma, was released on Friday afternoon. Listen to the audio via KFOR-TV: