A Winnsboro, La. woman was set on fire in a city park Sunday night in what police believe to be a hate crime. WTVM reports that 20-year-old Sharmeka Moffitt is in critical condition at LSU Medical Center in Shreveport. Her mother, Edna Moffitt, says surgery is scheduled for tomorrow.
“Both of her arms, and they are third degree burns, down her chest and legs – one. Basically her arms are real bad.” Edna Moffitt also confirms her daughter was not wearing an Obama t-shirt, as initial rumors on social media had indicated.
Authorities confirmed Moffitt called 911 around 8 p.m. Sunday from Civitan Park, telling them she had been attacked and burned by three men in white hoodies. The victim was unable to identify her attackers. Franklin Parish Sheriff Kevin Cobb confirms that “KKK” was spray-painted on the hood of her car, with a racial slur underneath.
Police are not classifying the incident as a hate crime at the moment, but FBI agents are investigating the possibility along with local law enforcement.
“This is a horrific event for our community,” says Franklin Parish Sheriff Kevin Cobb. “It makes everyone uneasy. It is our hope that everyone stands together at this time, and follow the information that is gathered, follow the facts, follow the evidence and hopefully that will lead us to justice in this case.” He went on to tell KSLA News 12 that they have no information to lead them directly to any individual suspects at this point, but he says they are following all avenues.
The story went viral Sunday evening on Twitter and Facebook.
Family and friends are planning a candlelight vigil for Sharmeka Moffitt. It’s set for Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. at Civitan Park.