Alton Nolen was charged with first-degree murder and assault Tuesday for a workplace rampage in which a former co-worker was beheaded and another employee attacked at an Oklahoma food processing plant. Nolen, 30, made international headlines for the gruesome attacks, which occurred shortly after he was fired, and his religious fanaticism.
Nolen entered the Vaughan Foods processing plant shortly after being fired from the company Thursday afternoon and attacked Colleen Hufford, 54, with a knife. He severed her head before attacking Traci Johnson, 43. Mark Vaughan, the company’s chief operating officer and a reserve deputy with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department, stopped the attack by shooting Nolen. Johnson was released from the hospital Saturday after receiving treatment for multiple stab wounds. Nolen remains in stable condition.
Nolen told police he felt “oppressed” at work and wanted a raise. He was in trouble at his workplace for allegedly trying to convert co-workers to Islam. Nolen had a handful of religious tattoos, including one of an Arabic greeting meaning “peace be upon you.” Before the incident, Nolen posted on his Facebook page pictures of beheadings and wrote: “Islam will dominate the world. Freedom can go to hell.”
Leaders of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City went on high alert for heightened anti-Muslim sentiment in the community following the incident, spokesman Saad Mohammad told the Oklahoman. “They have this ISIS [Islamic State militants] thing on their minds, and now this guy has brought it to America,” Mohammad said.
"My son was raised up in a loving home," the woman who identified herself as his mother said in a Facebook posting Sunday. "My son was raised up believing in God. My son was a good kid. I know what they're saying he done, but I'm going to tell you this: That's not my son."