America got a glimpse of a victim’s horror when a racist Muslim extremist exploded in murderous violence, as the survivor of last year’s near-beheading in Oklahoma spoke out for the first time.
Appearing Wednesday night on Fox News’ “The Kelly File,” survivor Traci Johnson told host Megyn Kelly about the day last September when Alton Nolen beheaded co-worker Colleen Hufford and then attacked Johnson.
If not for business owner Mark Vaughan’s timely arrival with a gun, Johnson believes she would have suffered the same fate as Hufford.
She said she had confronted Nolen about his poor work habits. “I don’t like it when somebody’s not wanting to work and wanting to do their job,” she said. “So I called him a spoiled brat and lazy. Then he kind of laughed a little bit and laughed that off.”
When Nolen made some racist comments, Johnson went with two co-workers to her supervisor’s office to write a statement about the incident. Nolen was suspended and escorted from the building when he confronted Johnson a second time.
Johnson didn’t actually see Nolen behead Hufford, she told Kelly, but she heard the screams. “And next thing you know, somebody comes around the corner and yells some stuff so we all go look, and Colleen’s laying on the ground” in the office, she said.
Nolen was covered with blood, Johnson explained, and he seemed “crazy.”
“His eyes were like huge,” she said. “I’ve never seen somebody’s eyes so big in my life… and I couldn’t move an inch.”
Johnson told Kelly that Nolen ran to her, pinned her against a wall, and started slicing her neck. As Johnson screamed and yelled for help, she struggled to defend herself. She said Nolen “got a hold of my face, and got a hold of my right index finger, and wouldn’t stop.”
When Kelly asked if Nolen was stabbing or slicing, Johnson said he was slicing and thinks he was trying to decapitate her. “He got a millimeter from my jugular,” she said, pointing to the area on her neck where she was cut.
Johnson said she didn’t feel the cuts because her “anxiety was too high,” and didn’t see any blood until the attack ended.
“To me, it happened quickly, but it seemed to last forever,” she said.
Johnson described what it was like when Mark Vaughan, whom she had never met, showed up with a gun.
“He told Nolen to get off of me,” she explained. “I think he shot [Nolen] the first time and it missed him.
“Then Nolen got off of me, and made a mad dash for Mr. Vaughan. And that’s when he shot [Nolen] two more times.”
Johnson said she was worried that she was in danger of being hit by bullets during the exchange. Nolen was shot in the left abdomen, and although he was conscious, he did not speak.
The entire ordeal lasted between five and 10 minutes, Johnson recalled.
Johnson has since moved from Oklahoma to Texas because she can’t let go of her guilt, telling Kelly, “It still bothers me to this day.”
She said she feels responsible for Hufford’s death because she had an exchange with Nolen earlier that day.
“I am going to be honest with you, I feel like it is my fault,” Johnson said. “Because of what happened, but everybody tells me it’s not.”
Johnson told Kelly she prayed that someone would come save her, “and it happened.”
Answering Kelly’s question if the ordeal has changed her, Johnson shared that it’s ruined her life. Tearfully, she said “I’m not the same.”