Local News

Father of slain 5-year-old: 'Everybody loved Cannon. He lit up the room'

Posted August 13, 2020 8:54 a.m. EDT
Updated August 14, 2020 4:23 p.m. EDT

— Before he went to the funeral for his 5-year-old son on Thursday, a Wilson man tearfully recalled the boy's brief life and tragic death.

Cannon Hinnant was riding a bike outside his father's home when a neighbor walked up to him and shot him in the head, witnesses told police.

"They were just playing in the yard like any other day," Austin Hinnant said Thursday of Cannon and his 8- and 7-year-old sisters.

Hinnant said he heard a gunshot as his fiancée walked into the house on Archers Road at about 5:30 p.m.

"The first thing that went through my mind was maybe he just fell off his bike," he said. "The closer I got to him, the more I realized it was something far more serious."

Darrius Sessoms, 25, was charged with first-degree murder in Cannon's death and was arrested Monday in Goldsboro.

Hinnant said he has lived next door to Sessoms and his parents for eight years and even had him over for dinner on Saturday.

"The Lord says to love our neighbor. I have plenty of food to go around. I just wanted to be nice," Hinnant said, noting that he and Sessoms sat on his porch and drank beer.

He said he had never had any confrontations with Sessoms.

"There wasn't anything between me and him, any bad blood whatsoever, for him to have a reason to do this," he said.

After Cannon was shot, Hinnant said, he scooped the wounded boy into his arms.

"I screamed, 'Somebody, please help me save my son! Help me save my son, please,'" he said.

A neighbor came over with an EMT bag, he said, adding that he then fell to his knees and prayed aloud.

"[You] can't imagine what it's like to hold your son in your arms with a gunshot wound to the head, and his blood is running down your arms," he said.

Meanwhile, he said, Sessoms was pacing nearby, gun in hand, before driving off.

"I was looking at him as I was picking up Cannon," he said. "I was so full of rage, but I couldn't leave my son's side. I wanted to be with my son."

Hinnant said he has no idea why Cannon was killed.

"Everybody just loved Cannon. He lit up the room," he said.

Wilson police haven't released any details regarding a possible motive in the shooting.

The family has postponed a community vigil for Cannon that had been set for Friday night. No new date has been set.

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