An apparent attack by the KKK that severely injured a black woman in Louisiana has set off shock waves across the country, leaving 20-year-old Sharmeka Moffitt in critical condition after being set on fire by three men in white hoods.
While Moffitt said she couldn’t identify the race of the attackers, police have confirmed that the men wrote “KKK” and a racial slur on the hood of her car with a paste-like substance. The men doused her with flammable liquid and set her on fire at a park in Winnsboro, Louisiana on Sunday night. She was able to put out the fire with a water spigot before police arrived.
Moffitt suffered third-degree burns on more than half of her body, is in critical condition at LSU Medical Center in Shreveport, according to WMBF News.
“Both of her arms, and they are third degree burns, down her chest and legs. Basically her arms are real bad,” her mother, Edna, told the media.
The mother denied initial reports that claimed her daughter was wearing an Obama T-shirt at the time of the attack.
The FBI is investigating the attack as a possible hate crime, but no arrests had been made as of late Monday, Louisiana State Police spokeswoman Lt. Julie Lewis said.
Civitan Park, where the attack happened, has no surveillance cameras. Lewis said the state crime lab was analyzing several pieces of evidence.
Franklin Sheriff Kevin Cobb called it “a horrific event” and said authorities would “follow the facts and seek justice.”
Authorities do not know if the attack was planned or random but called the racial connotations “unsettling.”
“My hope is we’ll all stand together while we determine the facts,” Cobb told The News Star. “I’m asking the community to trust us to do the right thing.”
A Facebook page entitled “Prayers for Sharmeka Moffitt,” currently has more than 30,000 likes.
Otis Chisley, the president of the local branch of the NAACP, who said he was in touch with Moffitt’s distraught family, said that racism and KKK activity remain a fact of life in the state.
“It’s prevalent throughout Louisiana,” he said. “It’s hidden but it exists.”