A vigil is set tonight in the Louisiana town of Winnsboro where a 20-year-old black, female college student was set afire Sunday night in a park and her car smeared with racial slurs and the letters KKK.
The mother of Sharmeka Moffitt said the young woman is expected to undergo surgery today at a LSU Hospital in Shreveport, after being burned on over 60 percent of her body.
Initial reports in social media on Monday said that Sharmeka was wearing an Obama T-shirt at the time of the attack, but her mother told KSLA news that she was not wearing an Obama shirt. She also corrected other rumors.
“She was not raped. She was not beaten. She was burned,” said Edna Moffitt.
Sharmeka was walking in Civitan Park when she was attacked by three men wearing hoods or hoodies. She told authorities that she could not see their faces.
Authorities have not classified the incident as a hate crime, but state police were on the scene investigating within hours, state Sen. Rick Gallot, told BlackAmericaweb.com. “I understand the FBI is also investigating,” Gallot said.
“Anytime there is a crime of this magnitude, so senseless and brutal, you have to wonder what would motivate someone to inflict that type of pain on another individual,” Gallot said.
Tony Brown, host of a morning talk show carried on five Louisiana radio stations, said he broke the story on "Eyes Open Tony Brown" then traveled to Winnsboro to talk with residents and officials.
“This has developed an environment of fear in that community,” Brown told BlackAmericaweb.com. “We’ve seen an increase of racially motivated incidents in Louisiana and other parts of the country since the election of President Obama.
Winnsboro, is in Franklin Parish, about 30 to 45 northeast of Jena in LaSalle Parish. It was in that town in 2005 where national attention was focused after six young black men were jailed following a fight with a white schoolmate in a town where there had been racial division.
Winnsboro has a population less than 5,000 according the U.S. Census. A majority of residents in that town are black, but the largest percentage of residents in the parish is white, Brown said.
Both the mayor and police chief in Winnsboro are black. Attempts by BlackAmericaweb.com to reach Chief Lester Thomas and Mayor Jackie Johnson were unsuccessful.
Gallot and Brown applauded law enforcement for moving quickly to bring in additional resources for the investigation.
“This happened around 8 p.m. and by 1 a.m., state police were in there,” Brown said.
Gallot said he had confidence that the investigators will get questions answered regarding the incident.
“There have been a lot of rumors and speculation out there,” Gallot said. “I caution everyone not to rush to judgment, but to allow the professional investigators to handle this.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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