Published: 10:35 EST, 27 September 2014 | Updated: 14:50 EST, 27 September 2014
The Muslim convert who allegedly beheaded a female co-worker was arguing with his colleagues about whether it is acceptable to stone women to death the day he launched his attack, it has been claimed.
Alton Alexander Nolen, 30, was trying to convince workers that Islam teaches that the punishment is acceptable on Thursday, shortly before he was fired from his job at Vaughan Foods in Moore, Oklahoma, according to local media.
He returned the same day and lashed out at colleagues Colleen Hufford and Traci Johnson with a knife, police said.
After being shot by sheriff's deputy Mark Vaughan, who is also the firm's CEO, in the wake of the horrific attack he has woken up in hospital and is being questioned by police.
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Salute: Alton Alexander Nolen, 30, attacked Colleen Hufford and Traci Johnson after he was sacked from Vaughan Foods in Oklahoma, police said. Above, Nolen (center) apparently performs ISIS's one-finger salute
'Killer': The suspect reportedly beheaded Colleen Hufford, 54, and stabbed Traci Johnson, 43, before he was shot and wounded by off-duty sheriff's deputy and firm CEO Mark Vaughan. Above, Nolen reads the Koran
Sergeant Jeremy Lewis said Nolen will be charged with first-degree murder and assault and battery with a deadly weapon, and that he may also face federal charges.
He allegedly beheaded Ms Hufford and stabbed Ms Johnson - and would have continued his rampage had he not been shot by the store's CEO.
Police confirmed that Ms Johnson is now stable in hospital and is talking to police.
According to Truth Revolt, a family told a local Oklahoma paper Nolen was telling co-workers about an unspecified Islamic teaching which - Nolen claimed - said women should be stoned for committing certain offenses.
Nolen, who has been accused of trying to convert his colleagues to Islam, was shot and wounded by Mark Vaughan, CEO of Vaughan Foods and an off-duty sheriff's deputy, police said.
He survived the injury and was hospitalized, while Ms Johnson remains in stable condition in hospital.
Now, it has emerged that Nolen apparently celebrated terrorism, promoted Islam and disparaged non-Muslims in a series of posts on Facebook in the months leading up to the alleged killing.
Arrest: Nolen, who has been accused of trying to convert his colleagues at the plant to Islam, survived the injury and was hospitalized. Above, in an image posted to Facebook, the suspect is seen reading the Koran
Under the name Jah'Keem Yisrael, the suspect posted an image of Pope Benedict XVI to the social networking site, accompanied by the caption: 'SHARIA LAW IS COMING!!'.
In another he uploaded a photo of the Joker from the Batman series alongside a message criticizing the 'wicked' U.S. for not helping the people of Gaza against Israel.
Other posts saw Nolen reading the Koran, donning Muslim religious clothing, praying in a mosque and seemingly performing the one-figure salute of the Islamic State terror group.
Earlier this year, Nolen, whose Facebook cover photo appears to show several Taliban fighters, posted a photo of the 9/11 attacks, writing: 'A future prophecy revelation 18.8. She (the Statue of Liberty) is going into flames. She and anybody who's with her',
In prayer: It has emerged that Nolen (seen praying) apparently celebrated terrorism, promoted Islam and disparaged non-Muslims in a series of posts on Facebook in the months leading up to the alleged killing
Posing: Under the name Jah'Keem Yisrael, the suspect posted an image of Pope Benedict XVI to the social networking site, accompanied by the caption: 'SHARIA LAW IS COMING!!'. Above, he poses in another photo
At work: Meanwhile, in another, he uploaded a photo of the Joker with a message criticising the 'wicked' U.S. for not helping the people of Gaza against Israel. Above, Nolen is pictured loading food onto a shelf at work
He also apparently posted images of Osama bin Laden, deadly weaponry, a poster reading 'Islam will dominate the world' and children learning how to shoot guns.
The FBI is investigating Nolen's recent conversion to Islam to determine whether it was connected to the beheading and stabbing at the food processing plant in Moore on Thursday.
The bureau will work in conjunction with the Moore Police Department to chart Nolen's background as his motives are still unclear, Fox News reported.
Following his sacking on Thursday, Nolen returned to his SUV before smashing it into another vehicle, Moore Police Sergeant Jeremy Lewis said.
Police: Muslim convert beheaded co-worker in Oklahoma
Islamic convert: Other posts saw Nolen reading the Koran, donning Muslim religious clothing (pictured), praying in a mosque and seemingly performing the one-figure salute of the Islamic State terror group
In custody: Over a one-year period, Nolen also apparently posted images of Osama bin Laden, deadly weaponry, a poster reading 'Islam will dominate the world' and children learning how to shoot guns
Under investigation: The FBI is investigating Nolen's (pictured left and right) recent conversion to Islam to determine whether it was connected to the beheading and stabbing at the food processing plant in Moore
TERRORISM EXPERTS BLAST AUTHORITIES FOR TREATING DEATH AS 'WORKPLACE VIOLENCE'
Critics have slammed authorities in Oklahoma for treating the beheading as 'workplace violence' rather than an act of terrorism.
The Facebook page of suspect Alton Nolen has anti-American rants under the name 'Jah'Keem Israel' and he has also posted photos of Osama Bin Laden.
It also shows a man with a quote: 'I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smile ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them.'
However police in are still classifying it as a workplace incident.
Colin Clarke, a Rand Corp, terrorism expert, told Fox & Friends Saturday that the beheading was an act of terrorism and should be characterized as such.
'Calling it workplace violence is counterproductive,' he told the station.
Chad Sweet, CEO of the Chertoff Group and a former Department of Homeland Security Chief of Staff and CIA official said: 'You'll see this change very shortly,' he said Saturday. 'The only thing that is causing a pause I think is the fact that the triggering event was the termination of his employment.'
He then allegedly climbed out and entered the building, before attacking the first two people he saw - Ms Hufford and Ms Johnson - with a knife he had used at work.
On Friday, 911 calls revealed the panic of employees, with a caller telling the dispatcher: 'They're in the office, front office of the building. Yeah, we can hear a lot of screaming.
'We don't know where the person went and he went through our front office, went through the shipping office and stabbed a woman in our customer service department.'
Nolen could then be heard running, before three gun shots rang out, KFOR reported. 'Stay down! Stay down!' the caller told his fellow employees.
Yesterday, authorities applauded Vaughan, an Oklahoma County reserve deputy, for his shooting of Nolen, which was deemed to have saved Ms Johnson's and other employees' lives.
'This was not going to stop if he didn't stop it,' Lewis said. 'It could have gotten a lot worse.'
Sheriff John Whetsel with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office added in a statement: 'These were heinous criminal acts that were ended by the quick response of Oklahoma County Reserve Deputy Sheriff Mark Vaughan.
'I am extremely proud of the actions of Deputy Vaughan and I am convinced those actions saved the lives of several other employees.
'Mr. Vaughan, who serves as CEO of Vaughan Foods, was at work and when he was alerted that a man was attacking employees with a knife, Mark didn't hesitate. He quickly responded.
'Mark put an end to the threat by shooting the suspect and saving the life of a second victim who was being actively attacked by the suspect.
'There is every reason to believe that the lives of untold others were saved who would have been targeted by the suspect if it hadn't been for Deputy Vaughan's actions.'
Sergeant Lewis added that police are waiting until he was conscious before they move forward with charges.
Social media user: Following his sacking on Thursday, Nolen (pictured) returned to his SUV before smashing it into another vehicle, police said. He then allegedly entered the building and attacked the two women
Scene: On Friday, 911 calls revealed the panic of employees, with a caller telling the dispatcher: 'They're in the office, front office of the building. Yeah, we can hear a lot of screaming. Above, the scene at Vaughan Foods
Heroic: Mark Vaughan, pictured above, shot the suspect multiple times to put an end to his killing spree. Mr Vaughan is the former president of the company, left, and a reserve sheriff's deputy, rig
Emotional: Employees and friends wait behind a tape for word of loved ones as police investigate on Thursday
Stopped: Police tape cordons off a black SUV the 30-year-old suspect drove to the store on Thursday
On Friday, Lewis said that Nolen had been trying to convert co-workers to Islam and that local police had contacted the FBI to help investigate the man's background, KFOR reported.
Co-workers said Nolen himself had only just converted to Islam, according to News9. It is not yet known whether his beliefs played a role in the attack.
There were no immediate indications of a link to terrorism, officials said.
Announcing the FBI's involvement in the case, police released a statement saying: 'After conducting interviews with Nolen's co-workers, information was obtained that he recently started trying to convert several employees to the Muslim religion.
Update: Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said that the women weren't targeted - they were just in Nolen's way. He also praised Vaughan for saving other employees
Sadness: Workers stand in silence outside Vaughan Foods as they wait to leave following the grisly attack
'Due to the manner of death and the initial statements of co-workers and other initial information, the Moore Police Department requested the assistance of the FBI in conducting a background investigation on Nolan.'
Records show Nolen has a long previous criminal record including assault and battery on an officer, possession of a controlled substance and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute.
In 2010 he was charged with assault and battery of a police officer after being pulled over for having a fake license plate.
He was discovered to be driving with a suspended license and when the officer tried to cuff him he pushed him hard in the chest and bolted.
Overwhelmed: A worker from Vaughan Foods reacts after her colleague was beheaded during the attack
Anxious: Employees wait in the parking lot as police continue to look into the incident on Thursday
Evacuation: Around 300 employees were in the plant at the time of the attack on Thursday afternoon
According to Oklahoma State Court Records, there was 'a massive manhunt involving four law enforcement agencies, two helicopters... and lasted for over 12 hours.'
As part of his sentence – five years with all but the first two suspended – he was ordered to attend an anger management course. He was last released from jail in March 2013, according to records.
Records also reveal he has a tattoo of Jesus on his chest and praying hands on his arm.
He also has 'Assalamu Alaikum' - a greeting often used by Muslims meaning 'may peace be on you' - on his abdomen.
Long rap sheet: Nolen has a long criminal record including assault and battery on an officer and drug possession. In 2010, he sparked an overnight manhunt when he eluded cops trying to arrest him
Lewis confirmed to KFOR that the type of knife he allegedly used in the attack was the same kind used at the plant, where Nolen had worked as a production line employee.
He added that the suspect and the victims were apparently not involved with each other outside of their work at the business.
'The victims had no relationship to the suspect. He is just an angry employee that acted out,' Lewis said.
Police had been called to the store around 4.15pm following a report about a fight inside Vaughan Foods. While en route, officers were told that there had been a shooting, Lewis said.
Investigation: A Moore police officer helps secure a scene at Vaughan Foods. The FBI are also joining the case
'When officers arrived they approached the business as an active shooter situation. Once they entered the business they found a female deceased of stab wounds and they had a male with multiple gunshot wounds,' Lewis said.
He said the building was evacuated and searched and no other danger was found.
Employees returned to work on Friday.
'On behalf of everyone at Vaughan Foods, we are shocked and deeply saddened by the events of today,' the company said it a statement. 'Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the team member we lost and all those affected.'
It added that it will provide support and counselling for those affected.