Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel said the quick response of an off-duty reserve deputy saved lives during the attack at a Moore workplace Thursday afternoon.
The attack happened at about 4 p.m. at Vaughan Foods in Moore. According to police, former employee Alton Nolen beheaded one victim, 54-year-old Colleen Hufford. Hufford was pronounced dead at the scene.
While Nolen was stabbing a second victim, 43-year-old Traci Johnson, police said off-duty reserve deputy Mark Vaughan responded to the scene and fired shots at Nolen, ending the attack. Vaughan also serves as the COO of Vaughan Foods.
Both Nolen and Johnson were transported to the hospital. They are in stable condition. Police said Nolen was recently terminated by the business for an unknown reason. They believed Nolen attacked both victims at random.
Friday afternoon, Sheriff Whetsel released a statement saying his thoughts and prayers are with family and friends of the innocent victim who was murdered, and the second innocent victim who was injured. He said these were heinous criminal acts that were ended by the quick response of Deputy Vaughan.
“I am extremely proud of the actions of Deputy Vaughan and I am convinced those actions saved the lives of several other employees,” Whetsel said.
Sheriff Whetsel said Deputy Vaughan 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,” Sheriff Whetsel said.
According to the Sheriff's office, Mark Vaughan has been with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office since June 2010. During that time, he has completed the 10-month Reserve Deputy Basic Academy as well as other extensive law enforcement training.
Vaughan is currently assigned to the Patrol Division, which is a member of the FAST Team (Fast Action Support Team) and is a highly trained member of the Tactical Team.
Sheriff Whetsel said reserve deputies serve a very important role in the ability of the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office to provide law enforcement services and protection to the citizens of Oklahoma County. Reserve deputies are citizens who attended rigorous law enforcement training and volunteer their time to serve.
Whetsel said in the news release that Deputy Vaughan is an example of how significant these reserve deputies are to the citizens.
“Only one word can express my feelings of the actions of Reserve Deputy Mark Vaughan. Without regard to himself or his safety, yesterday Mark Vaughan became a ‘hero' while doing the job he was sworn to do – protecting others,” Sheriff Whetsel said.
Moore police said the attack is still under investigation. 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.