WINNSBORO, LA (NBC33) — A woman attacked and burned in Winnsboro, La is still fighting for her life, and her story has sparked an outcry from not only her community, but those reading about it online as well.
Sharmeka Moffitt, 20, was burned Sunday, Oct 21 in the Civitan Park in Winnsboro, La. Investigators say at least three men attacked her and set her on fire. Her vehicle, which was parked nearby, had racial slurs spray-painted on it, including “KKK.”
"Initial reports of racial animus in the incident are disturbing,” Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP President and CEO, said. “We will remain vigilant as we urge authorities to conduct a full investigation into this crime. We encourage anyone with information on the incident to immediately report possible leads to authorities."
Moffitt was transported to LSU-Shreveport in critical condition. She is expected to have surgery today, Tuesday, Oct. 23.
“Both of her arms are badly burned...3rd degree,” Edna Moffitt, mother, said. “From her neck down, her chest and both her legs, but basically her arms are real bad. Find them who did this to my baby and I want them to pay dearly."
While Moffitt continues to fight for her life, her community rallies behind her with a prayer vigil. The first one was held on Monday, Oct. 22 at Liberty Christian Church. Her neighbors, the city mayor, and people from neighboring communities all gathered to show their support.
"Just a horrific crime, a lot of attention -- a lot of fear," Darcel Diggs, a Winsboro resident told KTVE News. "I want the community to come together and to blend, show support for her family -- mother, father, brothers, and sisters -- And show that we care, we all care."
Another vigil is planned for tonight, Tuesday, at 7:00 p.m. in the same park where Moffitt was attacked. Along with the physical show of support, an online community continues to update information related to the case with the hope of finding Moffitt’s attackers.
“This is a page to gain recognition, justice, and for prayers,” reads a post on the Prayers for Sharmeka Moffitt Facebook page.
The online show of support via Facebook began in the early morning on Monday. Since then, over 31,000 people have subscribed to the page.
The case has not officially been labeled a hate crime.