By Mark Ellis
The FBI is investigating the beheading of a 54-year-old woman at an Oklahoma food plant yesterday after co-workers said the alleged killer tried to convert them to Islam following his own conversion.
Alton Alexander Nolen, 30, was fired from Vaughan Foods in Moore, Oklahoma, immediately prior to Thursday’s workplace rampage. Nolen walked inside the front office and attacked Colleen Hufford, apparently choosing her at random. He stabbed Hufford repeatedly before beheading her.
He may be the first Islamist sympathizer to copycat the gruesome beheading tactics of ISIS within the United States.
He also stabbed another woman at the plant, 43-year-old Traci Johnson, and may have beheaded her if not for the heroic actions of Mark Vaughan, the chief operating officer of Vaughan Foods, also an Oklahoma County reserve deputy.
Vaughan grabbed his pistol and shot the attacker twice, stopping the horrific incident from any further escalation.
“This off-duty deputy definitely saved Traci’s life,” said Sgt. Jeremy Lewis of the Moore Police Dept. “This was not going to stop if he didn’t stop it. He’s obviously a hero in this situation. It’s very tragic that someone did lose their life, but it could have gotten a lot worse. This guy was definitely not going to stop. He didn’t stop until he was shot.”
Johnson is hospitalized in stable condition with “numerous knife wounds,” according to police. Authorities said the attacker had no prior connection to either woman.
Nolen was shot twice and also hospitalized. He is currently in stable condition, police said. He recently had been trying to convert co-workers to Islam, according to Lewis. “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.”
Moore police have asked the FBI to help investigate the man’s background.
“Due to the manner of death and the statement of co-workers and other initial information that investigators have gathered, we requested the assistance of the FBI in conducting a background investigation into Nolen.”
The man who stopped the attack, Mark Vaughan, has been a Boy Scout leader since 1997 and hunts quail in his
free time, according to The Oklahoman.
“I’ve been involved in Boy Scouting forever. I’ve been a Scout leader since 1997 and am currently Scout master of Troop 4,” Vaughan told the Oklahoman. “I get a tremendous amount of enjoyment out of that. It’s a good movement. It teaches duty to community, to others and to themselves and reverence toward God.”
Nolen was convicted in January 2011 of multiple felony drug offenses, assault and battery on a police officer and escape from detention. He was released from prison in March 2013, according to state corrections records.
It should be noted that approximately 10 to 15 percent of the Muslim population worldwide are considered radical Islamists, so most Muslim Americans don’t agree with the violence perpetrated in the name of Islam any more than Christians agree with the actions of some Christians. The violent acts of Islamists are causing many Muslims to be more open to Christ, and the underground church is growing rapidly in the Middle East. This is an important time to reach out with the love of Christ to Muslims in your sphere of influence, and not to minister in a spirit of fear.