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Officer on beheading suspect: If I’d known what he’d do, I ‘would have killed him when I had a chance’

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(CNN) — A man who allegedly beheaded a woman in Oklahoma will be charged Monday, authorities said.

Charges against Alton Alexander Nolen will include first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon, according to Jeremy Lewis, spokesman for the Moore police department.

Nolen, a recent convert to Islam, allegedly attacked a woman Thursday at a Vaughan Foods processing plant, soon after he learned he’d lost his job there.

Police said he walked into the front office and attacked one of the first people he encountered, Colleen Hufford, 54. He severed her head with a knife and then attacked 43-year-old Traci Johnson. Johnson is in stable condition at a nearby hospital for treatment of “numerous wounds,” according to police.

Mark Vaughan, the company CEO and a reserve deputy with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, confronted and twice shot Nolen, authorities said.

Nolen, 30, was interviewed by investigators on Friday. Police have not revealed what he said.

Suspect’s Facebook page focused on Islam

Nolen’s Facebook page uses 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.

There’s no reference to job dissatisfaction, and no indication he planned an attack.

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 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. In the Middle East, ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State, has drawn world attention with videotaped beheadings.

The Oklahoma Conference of Churches issued a statement 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 Islamic Community of Oklahoma has consistently condemned all violence — most especially acts of violence ostensibly carried out in the name of Islam,” the statement said. “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.”

National Muslim organizations have made similar statements as ISIS’ brutality has come to light.

A 2011 Pew Research poll found that one in five Muslim-Americans believes there is either a great deal or fair amount of support for extremism in the Muslim-American community.

Nearly half said Muslim leaders in the United States had not done enough to speak out against extremism, while a third said Muslim leaders had done enough.

Eighty-one percent said suicide bombings and other violence against civilians to defend Islam are never justified.

Officer: If I’d known what he’d do, I ‘would have killed him when I had a chance’

Nolen was 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 of a 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 he 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.

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9 comments

  • Cindi Day

    The thought that this police officer thought she was judge and jury scares the hell out of me. We have laws that she is sworn to uphold, not to use her gun and badge when she decides someone must die. That does not set us too far apart from the brutality and unreasonableness that we are now fightiang to get rid of.

    • Lash Vandelay

      She didn’t think she was judge and jury, or else she would have shot him in the back. Unfortunately, he went on to behead that poor woman.

  • nobody

    It would have saved an innocent woman’s life had the officer shot him when he attacked her four years ago. She is mistaken to feel any guilt over it, though. All a person can do is make the best decision at the time.

  • Cameron

    Jesus guys (thank you for those who have the same sentiment) at the end of the day she is fully within her right to say “I wish I had killed him” and if she had, the state would’ve been in it’s rights to haul her butt to jail. The “chilling” aspect of this whole quote is the fact that she thought that was something perfectly acceptable to say on national TV. Say that to your friends and loved ones sure, but you’re a cop! Contain some composure please! You literally have the ability to take a life at your finger tips!

  • Lance

    When I hear people talk about the “peaceful” religion that is Islam, it concerns me greatly. Here is what the Quran says about people who oppose their religion (taken DIRECTLY from their Holy Book): “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors. And kill them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, kill them. Such is the reward of those who reject faith. But if they cease, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression. The prohibited month, for the prohibited month, and so for all things prohibited, there is the law of equality. If then any one transgresses the prohibition against you, transgress ye likewise against him. But fear Allah, and know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.” (al-Baqarah 2:190-194).
    So Muslims who try and defend the peacefulness of ISLAM are clearly the non-devout ones, or either they are attempting to keep us all deceived until the greater plan emerges for the proliferation of their faith.

    • Lash Vandelay

      When a Christian commits a crime inspired by the Bible (such as those people who beat a foster child to death rather than “spare the rod”), do you condemn Christianity as a religion? I think every religion has its nutjobs, and people can and do use any set of symbols to justify violence.

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