Beheading in Oklahoma; police say man was trying to convert co-workers to Islam

Police in Moore Oklahoma could not immediately link the beheading of a woman by a male colleague Thursday to terrorism, but witnesses told police that suspect Alton Alexander Nolen was recently trying to convert co-workers to Islam.

CNN reported the breaking story, still in its early stages:

The man suspected of beheading a woman and stabbing another woman at his Oklahoma workplace had recently been fired, Moore police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said Friday, citing investigators’ interviews with people.

Moore said at a news conference that suspect Alton Alexander Nolen, 30, was terminated from his job at Vaughn Foods on Thursday just before the rampage occurred.

Nolen also recently had been trying to convert co-workers to Islam, Lewis said, citing investigators’ interviews with people. Moore police have asked the FBI to help them investigate the man’s background, Lewis said.

Alton
Photo crdit: Alton Nolen CBS AFFILIATE KWTV

The suspect was shot by Mark Vaughn, the chief operating officer of Vaughn Foods and an Oklahoma County reserve deputy, according to Lewis.

Colleen Hufford, 54,  the first victim, was assaulted and her head severed before Nolen attacked a second woman, Traci Johnson.

43-year-old Johnson has been taken to a local hospital and is in stable condition according to reports.

CBS News reports:

According to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections website, Nolen has a criminal history dating back to 2006 that includes charges of possession of a controlled substance and assault and battery on a police officer.

He was imprisoned from April 2011 to March 2013 and is currently listed as being on probation.

The Department of Corrections describes Nolen as having several tattoos, including a picture of Jesus Christ on his chest, praying hands on his arm and an inscription on his abdomen that says, “As-Salaamu Ataikum,” an Arabic greeting often used by Muslims translating to, “Peace be upon you.”

Watch the police press conference for full story here: 

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