Muslim Employee Beheads Colleague in OK Rampage

Muslim convert beheads colleague, severely wounds another while allegedly 'shouting Islamic phrases.' Officials say 'no link' to terrorism.

Tova Dvorin ,

Alton Alexander Nolen, mugshot (file)
Alton Alexander Nolen, mugshot (file)

The Muslim convert who allegedly beheaded a female colleague during a deadly rampage in Oklahoma Thursday was "screaming Islamic phrases" during the attack, eyewitnesses said Sunday - and details about events leading up to the massacre are even more troubling.

Alton Alexander Nolen, 30, had been trying to convert his co-workers at Vaughan Food processing plant in Moore, OK to Islam shortly before the rampage, officials stated. 

He also stated that "women should be stoned for an offense," according to a classmate, who spoke to the local McCurtain Gazette

Nolen was fired hours before the rampage, police said - then returned and "attacked the first person he could find." 

He savagely beheaded Colleen Hufford, 54 - "screaming Islamic phrases" the entire time - and then attacked 43-year-old Traci Johnson. Johnson is suffering "numerous wounds" and is in stable condition in a nearby hospital, police said. 

"He wasn't targeting anyone, wasn't going specifically after them," the police spokesman said. "It appears they were just in his way as he came in."

CEO and reserve deputy Mark Vaughan shot Nolen to stop the attack. 

Warning signs

Nolen has a detailed criminal history, according to CNN - including having spent seven years in prison for possession of a controlled substance, escaping confinement and resisting an officer. He was released in March 2013. 

Meanwhile, Nolen posted a series of disturbing Facebook posts in the days leading up to the attack, according to the Daily Mail, including celebrations of terrorism, remarks against non-Muslims, and promotions of radical Islam. 

Under the name Jah'Keem Yisrael, he posted such graphic posts as a picture of Pope Francis alongside the caption "SHARIA IS COMING" and a photo of the Joker from the Batman series cursing the US and "wicked" Israel.

In one photo, he makes what appears to be the sign of the Islamic State (IS) terror group; another lauds eliminated Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. 

Less virulent posts include photos of Nolen donning Islamic traditional dress and praying in a mosque. 

In denial?

US law enforcement officials have waffled over the term "terrorism" for the attacks, CNN notes, and have stated that they allegedly see no link between Islam and the attacks. 

The FBI is currently investigating Nolen's background and his motives, according to Fox News. 

Meanwhile, to defuse tensions, the Oklahoma Conference of Churches issued a statement on Saturday urging "all Oklahomans and people everywhere not to equate Mr. (Nolen's) actions with the beliefs and practices of the Islamic Community in Oklahoma."

The statement said that "The Islamic Community of Oklahoma has consistently condemned all violence -- most especially acts of violence ostensibly carried out in the name of Islam. Along with our Muslim brothers and sisters we affirm that true Islam is, in fact, a religion of peace and that those inflicting violence in the name of Islam are perverting Islam for their own ends."