OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A man fired from an Oklahoma food processing plant beheaded a woman with a knife and was attacking another worker when he was shot and wounded by a company official, police said Friday.
Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis says police are waiting until the 30-year-old man is conscious to arrest him in Thursday’s attack and have asked the FBI to help investigate after co-workers at Vaughan Foods told authorities that he recently started trying to convert several employees to Islam.
The man, whom The Associated Press is not naming because he has not been charged, stabbed Colleen Hufford, 54, severing her head, 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.
“This was not going to stop if he didn’t stop it. It could have gotten a lot worse,” Lewis said.
Lewis said that Moore police have asked the FBI to aid in the investigation and look into the man’s background because of the nature of the attack, which comes in the wake of a series of videotaped beheadings by Islamic State militants.
Johnson and the suspect were hospitalized and in stable condition Friday, Lewis said. He does not yet know what charges will be filed.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections records show the suspect 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.
A Vaughan spokeswoman said the company was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the attack.