Northeastern Louisiana police are looking for three men who a woman says set her on fire and wrote the initials KKK and a racial slur on her car.
The black woman, Sharmeka Moffit, was found in a park with burns on more than half of her body after they responded to a 911 call from her Sunday night, Louisiana State Police spokeswoman Lt. Julie Lewis said. Moffit is hospitalized in critical condition, reports USA Today, and some of her injuries are life-threatening deep third-degree burns.Moffitt said the men poured a flammable liquid on her and set her on fire at a park in Winnsboro, La. She put out the fire with water from a park spigot before a police officer got there and found her and her damaged car. The KKK letters and the racial slur were smeared on her car with some kind of paste-like substance, police said.
The injured woman said her attackers were three men wearing white hoods or hats, and later said the hoods were hoodies. She was not able to say what race the men were. The investigating officer found no suspects or other vehicles at the park, which has no surveillance cameras. The FBI is investigating whether the attack is a hate crime.
Otis Chisley, the president of the local branch of the NAACP, said he’s been touch with Moffitt’s family and is waiting for more facts before drawing conclusions. He’s urging people to “move with caution.”
Chisley said racism and KKK activity do remain facts of life in Louisiana.
“It’s prevalent throughout Louisiana,” he said. “It’s hidden but it exists.”