Police: Former Employee Beheaded Woman At Moore Workplace
MOORE, Oklahoma - A man reportedly beheaded a woman and stabbed another one at a Moore food distribution center Thursday afternoon.
According to Sgt. Jeremy Lewis with the Moore Police Department, coworkers told police that the suspect, 30-year-old Alton Alexander Nolen, had recently converted to Islam to become a Muslim. Coworkers said he had been trying to convert them to Islam, as well. That's why police said they have asked the FBI to investigate Nolen's background.
According to police, at about 4:05 p.m. Thursday, officers responded to the report of an “out-of-control” employee at Vaughan Foods, located at 216 NE 12th St. While speaking to the caller, officers learned that someone had been stabbed and gunshots were fired.
When officers arrived at the scene, police said they found two victims, 54-year-old Colleen Hufford and 43-year-old Traci Johnson. Hufford was beheaded and pronounced dead at the scene, and Johnson was suffering from multiple knife wounds.
The State Medical Examiner released a statement on Hufford's death Friday. According to the statement, Hufford's cause of death is decapitation due to multiple sharp force trauma to the neck. And the manner of death is homicide.
According to police, Nolen, the suspect, had already been shot by off-duty reserve deputy Mark Vaughan when officers arrived. Vaughan is the Chief Operating Officer of Vaughan Foods.
Both Johnson and Nolen were transported to the hospital. Johnson was released on Friday and Nolen has regained consciousness and is speaking with investigators.
During a news conference Friday morning, Sgt. Lewis said Nolen was a production line employee at the business and was recently terminated. After being terminated, Nolen reportedly went to the parking lot and drove his vehicle to the front of the business, where he hit another car. He then walked into the front office and began attacking Hufford and Johnson.
Nolen reportedly beheaded Hufford, and was still assaulting Johnson when deputy Mark Vaughan fired shots at him. Sgt. Lewis hailed Deputy Vaughan as a hero for saving Johnson's life and ending the threat.
"The deputy was in there within virtually seconds after he began assaulting the women or we would have had a lot more victims," said Sgt. Lewis.
Police believe the two victims were not targeted.
"It did appear random. He wasn't targeting anyone, wasn't going specifically after them. It just appears they were in his way as he came in," Sgt. Lewis said.
Sgt. Lewis said the weapon Nolen used is a standard knife used in the business. It is unclear at this time why Nolen was fired.
Police said they interviewed witnesses at the scene.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is also investigating Nolen's background after coworkers told authorities that Nolen had recently converted to Islam.
There is no information currently in the FBI's possession to indicate there is any additional threat to the citizens of Oklahoma related to this incident.
The FBI reported the suspect's motive is undetermined at this time. Investigators said until all the facts have been gathered, they are not in a position to comment any further.
Anyone with information they believe may assist in the investigation are encouraged to contact the Moore Police Department at (405) 793-5151 or the FBI at (405) 290-7770. Callers can remain anonymous.