US & Canada

Fired US worker beheads female colleague

Media captionSergeant Jeremy Lewis from Moore Police Department said the attack "did appear random"

A man in Oklahoma has beheaded one woman and wounded another after being fired from his job, police have said.

Alton Nolen, 30, attacked the two women at Vaughan Foods distribution plant in Moore, Oklahoma, on Thursday afternoon.

A manager who is also a reserve police officer stopped the attack by shooting and injuring Mr Nolen.

A police spokesman said the FBI was investigating Mr Nolen's background, after colleagues said he had recently tried to convert them to Islam.

But Sergeant Jeremy Lewis from Moore Police Department said the attack "did appear random".

Earlier in the afternoon Mr Nolen had been fired from his job in the plant.

Image caption Nolen was shot and taken to hospital

Police said he was angry and immediately went to the parking lot, then drove his vehicle to the front of the business where he hit another vehicle.

Mr Nolen then entered the main entrance to the front office where he came across his first victim, Colleen Hufford, 54.

"During the attack, Nolen severed the victim's head," said Mr Lewis.

Mr Nolen then began assaulting his second victim, Traci Johnson, 43, with the same knife.

"It appears they were just in his way when he came in," the police spokesman said.

Mr Nolen's attack was stopped when the chief executive of the plant, Mark Vaughan, who is also a police reserve deputy, shot and injured him.

"The off-duty deputy definitely saved Traci's life," said Mr Lewis.

Mr Nolen and the second victim were taken to hospital where they are both said to be in a stable condition.

Co-workers told the police that Mr Nolen had recently started trying to convert several employees to Islam.

Mr Lewis said the FBI was called in to investigate Mr Nolen's background "due to the manner of death and the initial statements of co-workers and other initial information".

The FBI confirmed they were assisting the investigation but declined to comment further.

"The motive is undetermined at this time and until all the facts have been gathered, we are not in a position to comment further," the agency said in a statement.

Vaughan Foods said the firm's owners' "thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the team member we lost".