A workplace beheading in Moore, Oklahoma is sending shockwaves through the country in the wake of videotaped beheadings by Islamic State militants, although police say it does not appear to be terrorism-related.
On Thursday, September 25, 30-year-old Alton Alexander Nolen was fired from his job at Vaughan Foods. After being terminated, “he drove to the front of the business, running into a vehicle, exited his vehicle, entered the business, where he encountered the first victim, Colleen Hufford, 54, and began assaulting her with a knife,” Sgt. Jeremy Lewis, of the Moore Police Department, said according to CNN. “He did kill Colleen, and he did sever her head.”
During a press conference on Friday, September 26, Lewis said Nolen had recently been trying to convert co-workers to Islam.
“After conducting interviews with co-workers of Nolen’s, information was obtained that he recently started trying to convert some of his coworkers to the Muslim religion,” Lewis said, according to CNN.
Logan County Sheriff's Office
Alton Nolen is shown here in a 2010 booking photo from the Logan County Sheriff’s Office in Oklahoma. Nolen, who is accused of beheading one of his coworkers and stabbing another, was released from probation earlier this year, according to Oklahoma state corrections officials.
The beheading and statements from co-workers about the conversion attempts led local police to call in the FBI to help with a background investigation.
A second woman, Traci Johnson, 43, survived the attack. She was stabbed a number of times before Nolen was shot 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, according to the Associated Press.
Johnson and Nolen are currently in the hospital and in stable condition, Lewis told AP.
CNN reports that U.S. law enforcement officials said this incident was not linked to terrorism.
Nolen has not yet been charged.