Oklahoma Beheading Suspect Regains Consciousness, Interviewed By Police
(CNN) — Police in Oklahoma said Saturday they’ve interviewed the man who allegedly beheaded a 54-year-old woman at his former workplace.
Alton Alexander Nolen, 30, was shot inside the Vaughn Food processing plant but regained consciousness in the hospital, said Jeremy Lewis, spokesman for the Moore police department.
Nolen was interviewed Friday in the hospital; police haven’t revealed what was said. Police expect him to be released and moved to a jail by early next week, Lewis said.
Nolen’s Facebook page provides no indication he planned to attack anybody.
He had recently converted to Islam and started the page under the name Jah’Keem Yisrael. The cover photo appears to be of fighters holding weapons. The postings include numerous all-caps messages about Islam and quotations from the Quran, but make no reference to job dissatisfaction.
Most postings end with “****InfoFromAMuslim****”
Some postings are political, such as one that runs with an image of the Joker, from Batman comics: “AMERICA SO CALL HELPS IRAQ (WHICH NOT)- WELL WHY CANT U HELP THE GAZA CITIZENS AGAINST ISRAEL LOL..I UPLOAD THIS PIK BECAUSE AMERICA AND ISRAEL ARE WICKED. WAKE UP MUSLIMS!!!”
CNN has confirmed with Moore police that the Facebook page and the images belong to Nolen.
No terrorism link found
Nolen had tried to convert co-workers to Islam, officials said.
U.S. law enforcement officials said there are no indications linking Thursday’s attack to terrorism. ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, has made a name for its itself with several videotaped beheadings in the Middle East.
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.”
Suspect had lost his job
The attack happened very soon after Nolen learned he’d lost his job at the processing plant. Police said he walked into the front office of the plant and attacked one of first people he encountered, Colleen Hufford, 54.
He severed her head with a knife and then attacked 43-year-old Traci Johnson, who was in stable condition at a nearby hospital for treatment of “numerous wounds,” according to police.
“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.”
Nolen stopped attacking people when he was shot by Mark Vaughan, who besides being his company’s CEO has been a reserve deputy with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, said Sheriff John Whetsel.
Nolen had been incarcerated until March 2013, for possession of a controlled substance, escaping confinement and resisting an officer.
CNN affiliate KOKI reported Nolen was arrested in 2006 when an officer saw him throw a bag of crack cocaine and a bag of marijuana out the vehicle window as the officer pulled him over for traffic violations.
Nolen was put on probation, KOKI reported. In 2010, a state trooper stopped Nolen for an expired tag and discovered Nolen had outstanding warrants, KOKI reported.
The trooper, Betsy Randolph, told CNN on Saturday that Nolen started struggling after she put a handcuff on one wrist. Nolen ran and was arrested after a 12-hour manhunt.
“He kept looking over his shoulder because he knew I wanted to shoot him, but obviously I couldn’t shoot him in the back,” Randolph told CNN. “If there had been any way to know the things he is alleged to have done a few days ago I would have killed him when I had a chance.”
A spokesman for Gov. Mary Fallin, Alex Weintz, noted the governor had blocked Nolen from receiving parole in 2012.
Weintz said Saturday: “The suspect came up for parole in 2012 and the governor denied his parole. She reviewed his file and didn’t think that he was a good candidate for early parole.”
CNN’s Evan Perez, Pamela Brown, Shelby Lin Erdman, Mark Bixler, Greg Botelho and John Branch contributed to this story.