For his heroic actions to stop a hideous beheading attack last fall at Vaughan Foods in Moore, Okla., Oklahoma County Reserve Deputy Mark Vaughan has been selected as the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the National Rifle Association.
Vaughan’s dual role as both armed citizen and reserve sheriff’s deputy ensured that he was at the right place at the right time last Sept. 24 when employees at the food plant had to fight for their lives. On that day, Vaughan was going about his daily duties as chief operating officer of Vaughan Foods when terrorism struck the Sooner State.
When the emergency alarms sounded, Vaughan didn’t yet know that Alton Nolen, a recently fired employee, had already beheaded 54-year-old grandmother Colleen Hufford and was continuing his attack.
“I immediately exited my office,” Vaughan recently told NRA News investigative journalist Ginny Simone in an exclusive interview. “I went down to my personal vehicle where I keep an AR-15 rifle. I donned a vest that said County Sheriff on it and ran about 130 yards to the customer service area. It was a bad scene. Many people were exiting the building, people were crying and screaming. It was a very chaotic situation.
“Others who were right there at the time of the initial attack were kicking, hitting, throwing chairs, books. And they were unable to stop him. He was determined, and he chased several folks off with a knife.”
When he entered the building, Vaughan couldn’t believe the carnage he saw. But he knew he had to do something to stop the attack.“The actions of Deputy Vaughan on Sept. 24 were nothing short of heroic. Thinking quickly and clearly, he put an end to an unspeakable rampage.”—Outgoing NRA President Jim Porter
“When I first arrived down that hallway, I could see the knife raised above his head and strokes with the knife, blows with the knife,” he said. “I yelled at him to stop and he did. He took a few steps toward me and then disappeared around another hallway. I proceeded after him.”
Vaughan said the attack occurred during a shift change. Consequently, there was a lot of activity in the area, with employees coming and going.
“Suddenly he reappeared, running at me and others near me at full speed with the knife still in hand, blood on his arm and on the knife,” Vaughan said. “I yelled a couple of times for him to stop, and he did not. And just at about 12 to 15 feet from me, I fired three rounds. He collapsed to the floor [with] the knife still in his hand. I stopped the threat.”
Outgoing NRA President Jim Porter presented Vaughan with the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year honor at the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Nashville, Tenn., last month.
“The actions of Deputy Vaughan on Sept. 24 were nothing short of heroic,” Porter said. “Thinking quickly and clearly, he put an end to an unspeakable rampage. The National Rifle Association is honored to name Deputy Vaughan as NRA’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.”
The NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, established in 1993 to recognize an exceptional act or service by a law enforcement officer, is administered by the NRA Law Enforcement Division. Nominations are accepted from anyone having knowledge of the nominee’s actions.