Surgery, vigil set for Winnsboro burning victim

Surgery, vigil set for Winnsboro burning victim
Flowers and a balloon have been left at the site in Civitan Park where a woman was set on fire Sunday night.
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) - A woman who was set on fire in an alleged attack Sunday night was scheduled to undergo surgery Tuesday.

20-year-old Sharmeka Moffitt remains in critical condition in the Regional Burn Center at LSU Medical Center in Shreveport after being set on fire at Civitan Park in Winnsboro, Louisiana on Sunday evening.

"I want justice and I want them to pay for what they did to my baby," her mother, Edna Moffitt said Monday. "Because they should not have done that to her and I want them to feel the pain that she's feeling now."

Edna Moffitt says 60% of her daughter's body was burned in the attack. On Tuesday, she confirmed that Sharmeka had opened her eyes and blinked to communicate with the family.

While she has expressed appreciation for the interest and prayers of well-wishers from around the region, Edna Moffit has asked that further details of her medical care not be released.

Police say around 8 p.m. on Sunday Moffitt called 911 telling them she had been attacked and
burned by three men in white hoodies. They say she was unable to identify her attackers or their race. Louisiana State Police Lt. Julie Lewis confirms that "KKK" was smeared on the hood of her car in a paste-like substance, with a racial slur underneath.

Moffitt told police the men doused her in a flammable liquid and set her on fire. Lewis said she extinguished the fire using water from a nearby spigot before a police officer arrived.

"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.

A candlelight vigil has also been planned for Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. at Civitan Park.

This 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 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. Edna Moffitt also confirms her daughter was not wearing an Obama t-shirt, as initial rumors on social media had indicated.

Copyright 2012 KSLA. All rights reserved.