A North Carolina boy is dead after police say a next-door neighbor shot him in the head while he was playing outside with his sisters.
The Wilson Times reports that the U.S. Marshals Service Carolinas Regional Task Force arrested Darius Nathaniel Sessoms, 25, on Monday. He’s been charged with murder in connection with the death of 5-year-old Cannon Hinnant.
According to officials, the shooting happened at around 5:33 p.m. on Sunday, at 100 Archers Road in Wilson. Family members told police that Cannon was outside on his bike, playing with his sisters, ages 8 and 7, when Sessoms walked up to the boy, pointed a gun at his head and pulled the trigger.
First responders rushed Cannon to the Wilson Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.
A neighbor said that Sessoms had dinner with Cannon’s father, Austin, the night before the shooting. Sessoms went back to Austin’s home earlier in the day on Sunday.
WRAL reports that Doris Lybrand, a neighbor who witnessed the shooting, saw Sessoms run back toward his house after putting a gun to Cannon’s head.
“My first reaction was he’s playing with the kids,” Lybrand said. “For a second, I thought, ‘That couldn’t happen.’ People don’t run across the street and kill kids.”
When Lybrand saw the reaction of Cannon’s father, she immediately ran inside her home, locked the door, and called 911.
“You don’t expect to see somebody shoot someone,” Lybrand said.
Sessoms later fled the scene in a 2019 Toyota Corolla, but authorities found him on Monday night, inside a home in Goldsboro.
CBS 17 reports that Cannon’s family members said they knew Sessoms, who lived next door to the child’s family for years.
“We used to play together and I never thought he’d kill someone. A mother now has to lay her son to rest at 5 years old which she should never have to do. He’ll never be forgotten,” cousin Rachel Pipkin told the outlet.
Cannon’s mother, Bonny Waddell, told the Wilson Times that her son was scheduled to start Kindergarten on Monday and had just learned how to write his name.
“He was just a loving kid,” Bonny said.
“It’s devastating. No one should ever have to bury their child. No mother should have to go through this.”
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about the shooting should contact the Wilson Police Department at 252-399-2323 or contact Crime Stoppers at 252-243-2255.
A motive for the shooting is unknown at this time.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with burial expenses. Check back for updates.
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[Feature Photo: Cannon Hinnant/GoFundMe; Handout]