Did a Winnsboro Woman Really Set Herself on Fire and Try to Blame It on the KKK?
File this under unexplainable: A Winnsboro woman ends up in the hospital Sunday night covered in third-degree burns. She says she was attacked by three men in white hoodies. On her car, someone has painted “KKK” and racial slurs. Just when everyone’s hackles get raised, authorities say that the truth was, she set HERSELF on fire. Say what?
Sharmeka Moffitt, 20, remains in the LSU Medical Center in Shreveport with burns over 60% of her body, according to KSLA-TV. She initially called 911 on Sunday night around 8 p.m. saying she had been attacked but could not identify her attackers. Due to her claims, the FBI got involved, and the story quickly got out of control. Rumors on the internet suggested that either she or one of her children had been wearing an Obama campaign T-shirt, though this was later found not to be the case.
Even as Moffitt was undergoing surgery, candlelight vigils were being planned in her honor, and the NAACP was condemning the attack and demanding a thorough investigation. Meanwhile, authorities said they had no suspects, though they were investigating all leads.
Then, Tuesday afternoon, word came out that not only were there no suspects in the case, but in fact Moffitt herself was the person responsible for her injuries. Winnsboro police said her fingerprints were on the lighter and lighter fluid linked to the fire. What remains completely unclear is exactly why this all went down, if that is indeed what happened. Meanwhile, her family seemed as shocked as everyone else in their statement to the press:
“Our family is devastated to learn the circumstances surrounding our daughter’s injuries. While this was not the resolution we had expected, it is a resolution, and we appreciate the thorough investigation by the local and state police as well as federal agencies.
We are sincerely sorry for any problems this may have caused and wish to express our appreciation for the outpouring of love, prayers and support we have received from friends, acquaintances, church organizations and government officials.
Over the coming days and weeks, our focus will be on Sharmeka and her recovery.”
At the same time, the Winnsboro police chief admitted that Moffitt has not confessed to setting herself on fire. What on earth is going on here?
Meanwhile, the residents of Winnsboro are confused and a little ticked off, and no one’s quite sure what this means for race relations in the town of about 5,000 people.