Oklahoma Corrections Dept: Man Who Beheaded Woman Was Muslim
Alton Nolen, the man who beheaded a 54-year-old woman at Vaughan Foods in Moore, Okla., on Friday was a Muslim, according to a report in the Oklahoman newspaper.
The paper said that the Oklahoma Corrections Department had listed his religion as “Islam”:
“Nolen has tattooed on his abdomen ‘as-salaamu alaikum,’ Arabic for ‘peace be with you,’ according to state Corrections Department records. He has ‘Jesus Christ’ tattooed on his chest, ‘Judah’ on his left arm and praying hands on his right arm. Corrections Department records list Nolen’s religion as ‘Islam.'”
A spokesman for an Oklahoma City Islamic group says a man accused of beheading one woman and attacking another at a food processing plant from which he was fired did attended the same mosque he did.
Saad Mohammed, director of information for the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, said Saturday that Alton Nolen began worshipping at one of the group’s mosques in May and that he has seen him there several times since.
Nolen, 30, remains hospitalized in stable condition following Thursday’s attack at the Vaughan Foods plant in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said. He said Nolen will be charged with first-degree murder and assault and battery with a deadly weapon, and that he may also face federal charges.
“We’ve already interviewed him and charges will be filed on Monday,” Lewis said.
Lewis said Nolen was fired right before the attack, and that he then drove from the building that houses the company’s human resources department to its main distribution center.
Once inside, he attacked 54-year-old Colleen Hufford with a knife in the center’s administrative office area, eventually severing her head, according to police. Nolen then repeatedly stabbed 43-year-old Traci Johnson before Mark Vaughan, a reserve sheriff’s deputy and the company’s chief operating officer, shot him.
Johnson survived the attack and is also conscious, Lewis said, adding that she is listed in stable condition.
“She is talking. We have interviewed her,” Lewis said.
Although the investigation is ongoing, Lewis said police learned Nolen was discharged from Vaughan Foods for “numerous reasons” involving “personnel issues,” but that he didn’t know the specifics.
Police asked the FBI to help investigate Nolen after co-workers told investigators he had recently started trying to convert several employees to Islam. He said police asked the FBI to look into Lewis’ background because of the nature of the attack, which followed a series of high-profile videotaped beheadings by ISIS militants.
Lewis said investigators learned Nolen had attended a Muslim mosque in the Oklahoma City area but that he did not know which one.
In a statement, FBI Special Agent in Charge James E. Finch said the motive for the attack had not been determined, but that there is no reason to believe there was a threat to anyone else.
“We don’t have any reason to believe there is any danger to the area,” Lewis said.
According to Oklahoma Department of Corrections records, Nolen served time in prison and is on probation for assault and battery of a police officer. He also was convicted of cocaine possession with the intent to distribute in 2011.