A man has allegedly beheaded a former coworker and was in the process of attacking a second woman after having recently been fired from his job at a food processing plant in Moore, Oklahoma.
“Yes, she was beheaded,” Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis told The Associated Press before a Friday news conference.
Police said the suspect, who has not yet been charged, entered the warehouse where he had worked and assaulted the first two people he encountered with the type of knife that employees use at the plant.
The attacked allegedly severed the head of 54-year-old Colleen Hufford Nolen and then attacked 43-year-old Traci Johnson.
At that point a former CEO of the business, and an Oklahoma County Reserve Deputy, Mark Vaughan, responded on the scene and shot the suspect.
“This suspect was angry about some sort of incident that happened at the business,” Sgt. Jeremy Lewis of the Moore Police Department said during a press conference. “These women really had nothing to do with that. He was just acting out against them. They are the first people he came in contact with.”
There are conflicting reports that the suspect, who had recently converted to Islam, had been radicalized and carried out the attacks due to his religion. The New York Post reports that he had previously tried to convert his coworkers to Islam and had shouted Islamic phrases during the attacks based on a tweet from Robin Marsh, a news anchor with Oklahoma station KWTV-9.
The Islamic Council of Oklahoma has released a statement decrying any act of violence as being shocking and tragic. The council has said they are “supporting law enforcement efforts to perform their due diligence and seek justice in this case.”
The Moore Police Department reached out to the FBI for help in investigating the case.
The suspect has a police record for drug and assault charges. He has previously served time in prison.
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