Flowers and a balloon have been left at the site in Civitan Park where a woman was set on fire Sunday night.
WINNSBORO, LA (KSLA) -
New details are emerging surrounding the critical injury of a Winnsboro woman set on fire in a city park on Sunday night.
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.
At a news conference held just before Noon Monday, 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. They say she was unable to identify her attackers. Franklin Parish Sheriff Kevin Cobb confirms that "KKK" was scrawled on the hood of her car in some sort of paste-like substance, with a racial slur underneath.
At this point, police are not classifying the incident as a hate crime, but FBI agents are there investigating the possibility. Agents are there in addition to Louisiana State Police and local law enforcement, the State Fire Marshal's Office and the Franklin Parish Sheriff's Department.
Winnsboro Police say they will be tightening security at the park as a result of the incident.
"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. Many of the posts speculated the attack was a hate crime. However, the sheriff's office has also confirmed with KSLA News 12 that Moffitt was not wearing a President Obama t-shirt, despite claims on social media that the t-shirt is what provoked the attack.
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.
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