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Armed Vaughan Foods executive a hero

By Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City)

The off-duty reserve sheriff's deputy who police say shot disgruntled warehouse worker Alton Nolen as he attacked another employee at the Vaughan Foods plant with a knife on Thursday was the one-time company president who is involved in Boy Scouts and an avid hunter.

In a statement, Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel praised Mark E. Vaughan, 49, of Oklahoma City for his quick thinking and called him a hero.

Mark Vaughan

"I am convinced those actions saved the lives of several other employees," Whetsel said. "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."

Vaughan is the former president of Vaughan Foods and continued as chief operating officer with the company after its 2011 sale to Oregon-based Reser's Fine Foods Inc.

Vaughan has been part of the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office since June 2010, and is assigned to the Patrol Division. He is a member of the Fast Action Support Team, and Whetsel said he also is a highly trained member of the Tactical Team.

"Mark Vaughan is an example of just how significant these men and women are to our citizens. Yesterday lives were saved and a criminal threat ended by the quick and unselfish response of Mark Vaughan," Whetsel said in a statement. "Only one word can express my feelings of the actions of Reserve Deputy Mark Vaughan. Without regard to himself or his safety, yesterday Mark Vaughan became a "HERO" while doing the job he was sworn to do -- protecting others."

Vaughan has been a Boy Scout leader since 1997 and hunts quail in his spare time, according to a 2005 interview with The Oklahoman.

"I've been involved in Boy Scouting forever. I've been a Scout leader since 1997 and am currently Scout master of Troop 4," Vaughan said in the interview. "I get a tremendous amount of enjoyment out of that. It's a good movement. It teaches duty to community, to others and to themselves and reverence toward God."

Reserve Deputies must attend a basic law enforcement academy and annual training sessions, as well as work a minimum of 16 hours a month in the program, according the Oklahoma County Sheriff's department.

Beaverton, Ore.-based Reser's Fine Foods acquired Vaughan Foods for $18.25 million in cash in 2011. The company employed about 500 people in 2011.

In a statement issued Friday morning, Reser's said it was working with law enforcement to help the ongoing investigation into the incident.

"On behalf of everyone at Vaughan Foods, we are shocked and deeply saddened by the events of today. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the team member we lost and all those affected," the company said. "Our focus is on the safety and well-being of our employees. We will provide counseling and support for our team members and support each other through this difficult time."

At its Moore plant, Vaughan Foods company makes prepared chopped lettuce, coleslaw, salsa and other chopped produce for distribution across the Midwest.


  Huntington Beach News