Cannon Hinnant, 5, was playing outside his home in Wilson, North Carolina, on August 9 when he was shot in the head by a neighbor. Cannon was transported to Wilson Medical Center, where he later died from his injuries.
Darius N. Sessoms, 25, was arrested the next day by the Wilson Police Department with the assistance of members of the U.S. Marshals Service Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force. Sessoms has been charged with first-degree murder with no bond.
Local reports say that Cannon was riding his bike when he was shot by Sessoms, and that his two sisters and his young aunt witnessed it. Cannon’s father, Austin Hinnant, told local media that Sessoms had been his neighbor for eight years, and that he had even had him over for dinner the night prior.
According to WRAL, Hinnant was inside his house when he heard the gunshot nearby, and that he found Cannon on the ground—at first thinking he had simply fallen off his bike. Another neighbor rushed over with an EMT bag to help.
Hinnant then described seeing Sessoms “frantically pacing around the yard” with a gun in his hand, before getting into a car and driving off.
“There wasn’t anything between me and him, any bad blood whatsoever, for him to have a reason to do this,” Hinnant told WRAL. “I was looking at him as I was picking up Cannon… I was so full of rage, but I couldn’t leave my son’s side. I wanted to be with my son.”
A memorial and funeral service was held for Cannon on August 13. A local tattoo shop called Everlasting Impressions has also created a mural as a tribute to Cannon.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to cover funeral expenses. According to Cannon’s grandmother, Gwen Hinnant, the money raised will also likely go towards therapy expenses for Cannon’s two sisters, who witnessed their brother’s killing. She says the family would also like to create a local park in his memory. The GoFundMe has raised nearly $800,000 for the family, far surpassing the initial goal of $5,000.
“We’ve discussed a memorial park for Cannon where kids can go and ride their bikes, since he loved that so much,” Gwen Hinnant told WITN.
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