Additional details are emerging in the case of 5-year-old Cannon Hinnant, a North Carolina boy who lost his life after a next-door neighbor allegedly shot him point-blank in the head.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, 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.”
According to the News and Observer, Cannon’s parents, Austin and Bonny, divorced in 2019. Cannon was at his father’s house during visitation when the incident occurred. The couple’s other children, Cannon’s sisters, were visiting their father at the same.
“They were just playing in the yard like any other day,” Austin Hinnant told WARL, referring to Cannon and his sisters.
As Austin walked back into his house, he heard a gunshot. He said he turned around to see his son on the ground.
“The first thing that went through my mind was maybe he just fell off his bike. The closer I got to him, the more I realized it was something far more serious.”
Austin said as he picked his son up, he noticed Sessoms pacing nearby.
“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.”
Sessoms later fled the scene in a 2019 Toyota Corolla, but authorities found him on Monday night, inside a home in Goldsboro. He made a brief appearance in court Tuesday and said he planned to hire his own lawyer.
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]