The FBI announced on Friday it is investigating a workplace beheading at a food processing plant in Oklahoma that may have an Islamic connection. Local police called on the FBI to assist with the background check of the suspect.
Alton Alexander Nolen, 30, a disgruntled ex-employee of Vaughan Foods processing plant was fired just before the rampage Thursday afternoon in Moore, Oklahoma.
Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said the suspect, Alton Alexander Nolen recently tried to convert co-workers to Islam. Sgt. Lewis said:
“Due to the manner of death and the statement of co-workers and other initial information that investigators have gathered, we requested the assistance of the FBI in conducting a background investigation into Nolen.”
The horrific attacks appeared to be random. Nolen first charged Colleen Hufford, 54, with a knife and then severed her head. A second victim, identified as 43-year-old Traci Johnson, survived the attack, thanks to a co-worker, Mark Vaughan, an Oklahoma County reserve deputy — who then shot and wounded Nolen. Traci Johnson is hospitalized in stable condition.
A spokesman for the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, Saad Mohammad told reporters that mosque is implementing additional security precautions to protect Muslims who gather there from any potential retaliatory violence.
Mohammad said any anti-Muslim sentiments local residents might be heightened due to the beheadings and violence overseas by Islamic State militants.
Following 9/11, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security designated the FBI as the lead agency in all U.S. cases where terrorism is suspected, until terrorism can be ruled out.
In 2012, Amal Ahmed Abdullahi, 29, of Nashville, Tennessee was arrested on attempted terrorism charges after she allegedly told a coworker at CEVA Logistics that the computer plant was full of unbelievers who should die, and that she should shoot them. The coworker said he overheard the woman say that she was “ready to die for Allah.”
Abdullahi was charged with one felony count of intimidating/coercing a civilian population under the state of Tennessee terrorism law enacted after September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The Huffington Post reports that according to Oklahoma’s Department of Corrections online records, Alton Alexander Nolen has a tattoo that says ‘assalamu alaikum,’ an Arabic greeting.
The United States Department of Homeland Security issued an new intelligence bulletin to law enforcement agencies across the country on Tuesday warning police to be on heightened alert for lone-wolf attacks after U.S. military airstrikes against ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria this morning.
The FBI confirmed stepped up counter-terrorism efforts including tracking American jihadists who may return home from Syria. U.S. bound flights have increased security screening protocol to include more thorough searches for hidden explosives in electronics including laptops and cell phones.