Beheading in the heartland
A recent convert to Islam went on a rampage at an Oklahoma food distribution warehouse, murdering and beheading a 54 year old grandmother and stabbing another worker before the company CEO, a reserve deputy sherrif, shot and wounded him.
Alton Nolen, a 30 year old ex-con who reportedly tried to convert co-workers to Islam, went on his violent spree after being informed he was being fired.
The FBI has been called in to assist in the investigation.
Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said police are waiting until Alton Nolen, 30, is conscious to arrest him in Thursday's attack and have asked the FBI to help investigate after co-workers at Vaughan Foods in the south Oklahoma City suburb told authorities that he recently started trying to convert several employees to Islam.
Nolen severed the head of Colleen Hufford, 54, Lewis said.
"Yes, she was beheaded," Lewis told The Associated Press before a Friday news conference.
Lewis said Nolen then stabbed Traci Johnson, 43, a number of times before Mark Vaughan, a reserve sheriff's deputy and the company's chief operating officer, shot him.
"This was not going to stop if he didn't stop it. It could have gotten a lot worse," Lewis said. "The threat had already stopped once we arrived."
Lewis said Moore police have asked the FBI to look into the man's background because of the nature of the attack, which follows a series of videotaped beheadings by Islamic State militants.
In a statement, FBI Special Agent in Charge James E. Finch said the motive for the attack has not been determined but that there is no reason to believe there is a threat to anyone else.
A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told the AP that while there was indication that Nolen was a Muslim convert and was trying to convert others to Islam, there is so far no connection to terrorism and no evidence of any worrisome travel.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said Nolen had a Facebook page that was of potential interest to investigators but that "there doesn't appear to be any nexus to terrorism right now." But the official also said investigators were still looking into Nolen's background.
Johnson and the suspect were hospitalized and in stable condition Friday, Lewis said. Nolen had not yet been charged and Lewis said he didn't know what charges the suspect would face.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections records say Nolen has served time in prison and is on probation for assault and battery on a police officer. He also was convicted of cocaine possession with intent to distribute in 2011.
No "nexus to terrorism"? How about being inspired by terrorists? Does that count as a terrorist attack? It would be amusing if it wasn't so tragic how authorities fall all over themselves, twisting their logic into pretzels, in trying to avoid using the term "terrorist" and "Islam" in the same sentence.
Pointing out the obvious does not make one an Islamophobe, nor does it encourage attacks on Muslims. While we should certainly try and be patient as the police and FBI investigate, there's no reason to downplay the connection between Nolen and Islam, nor the obvious context of the attack coming after the beheadings of two American journalists by ISIS.
Meanwhile, reserve deputy sherrif and company President Mark Vaughan's heroic actions saved not only the life of Ms. Johnson, but probably several other lives as well.
Authorities confirmed that Vaughan has been involved with the sheriff's office since 2010 and took a 10 month training course to be certified as a reserve deputy. He is a member of the patrol division, the Fast Action Support Team and the tactical team, Whetsel said.
"Mark Vaughan is an example of just how significant these men and women are to our citizens," Whetsel said in a statement. "Yesterday lives were saved and a criminal threat ended by the quick and unselfish response of Mark Vaughan."
A lone wolf terrorist attack is still a terrorist attack. This one was snuffed out before the body count became unbearable by a citizen with a gun. How much do you want to bet both the killer's connection to Islam and the deputy's brave actions are downplayed by the media?