Oklahoma Beheading: FBI Investigating Suspect’s Conversion to Islam

The Oklahoma beheading tragedy has shocked the nation. Searching for answers, the FBI is investigating the suspect’s background. Specifically, they are taking a look at Alton Alexander Nolen’s recent conversion to Islam.

Nolen, 30, was recently fired from Vaughn Foods. Sgt. Jeremy Lewis of the Moore Police Department told KFOR that on Thursday, the day of the Oklahoma beheading tragedy, Alton drove to the front of the food distribution center, hit a vehicle, and walked inside the building. Once the suspect reached the front office, he repeatedly stabbed Colleen Hufford, 54. Authorities said that Nolen then severed her head.

Lewis said that after attacking Bufford, Alton used the knife to attack Traci Johnson, 43. During the stabbing, Mark Vaughn, Oklahoma County reserve deputy and former CEO of Vaughn Foods, shot Nolen twice, although three gunshots were heard by the man who called 911. Vaughn is being called a hero, and although still hospitalized, Johnson is in stable condition.

It has been confirmed that the knife used in the Oklahoma beheading is the same kind that the food plant uses. Authorities believe that the Oklahoma beheading suspect attacked his victims randomly.

According to Fox News, Alton’s former co-workers say that the Oklahoma beheading suspect recently converted to Islam. The FBI is now assisting the Moore Police Department, and are investigating Nolen’s religious conversion to see if there is a connection. The police department issued a statement on the Oklahoma beheading tragedy.

“After conducting interviews with Nolen’s co-workers, information was obtained that he recently started trying to convert several employees to the Muslim religion. Due to the manner of death and the initial statements of co-workers and other initial information, the Moore Police Department requested the assistance of the FBI in conducting a background investigation on Nolen.”

Lewis stated that Nolen’s past may explain the attacks on Bufford and Johnson, but he was unable to disclose any information relating to the Oklahoma beheading suspect’s background. Lewis told CNN that once they discovered things that Alton Nolen had been involved in and statements he had made, they contacted the FBI.

The Oklahoma beheading suspect has been in trouble with the law before. State correction records reveal Alton was convicted in 2011 of possession of a controlled substance, escaping detention, and resisting a police officer. In March 2013, Nolen was released from prison.

No charges have been filed yet. Authorities explain that they are waiting until the Oklahoma beheading suspect to regain consciousness to arrest him. CNN reported that as of 6 p.m., Alton was beginning to come out of sedation. Authorities will question the suspect as soon as he is coherent enough to understand what is going on.

[Photo: Oklahoma Department of Corrections]