Co-workers, investigators learn attacker had recently started trying to convert employees to Islam
MOORE, Okla. (AP) — A man who had been fired from a food processing plant in an Oklahoma City suburb beheaded a woman with a knife and was attacking another worker when he was shot and wounded by a company official, police said Friday.
The 30-year-old man, who has not yet been charged, stabbed Colleen Hufford, 54, severing her head in Thursday’s attack at Vaughan Foods, Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said.
"Yes, she was beheaded," Lewis told The Associated Press before a Friday news conference.
Lewis said the man then stabbed Traci Johnson, 43, a number of times before being shot by Mark Vaughan, a reserve sheriff’s deputy and the company’s chief operating officer.
While questioning the suspect’s co-workers, investigators learned he had recently started trying to convert several employees to Islam, 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 byIslamic 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.
Johnson and the suspect were hospitalized and in stable condition Friday, Lewis said.
Lewis said he does not yet know what charges will be filed, adding that police are waiting until the man is conscious to arrest him.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections records show the suspect, whom The Associated Press is not naming because he has not been charged, has multiple, apparently religious tattoos, including one referencing Jesus and one in Arabic that means "peace be with you."
Lewis said the suspect had been fired in a building that houses the company’s human resources office, then immediately drove to the entrance of the business. Lewis said he didn’t know why the man was fired.
"This was not going to stop if he didn’t stop it. It could have gotten a lot worse," Lewis said.
A Vaughan spokeswoman said the company was "shocked and deeply saddened" by the attack.