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Man Allegedly Ran Across the Street, Murdered 5-Year-Old Cannon Hinnant in Front of the Boy’s Sisters

Darius N. Sessoms

A North Carolina man is charged with allegedly murdering a young boy. Darius N. Sessoms, 25, was arrested Monday in the death of Cannon Hinnant, 5, says the Wilson Police Department.

The shooting occurred on Sunday afternoon, said a witness and family members. Sessoms lived next door to Cannon’s father, according to the account described by WRAL. A neighbor claimed the two adults had dinner on Saturday. Also, Sessoms was at his neighbor’s residence earlier the next day.

Doris Lybrand claimed that Sessoms ran up to Hinnant, and shot the child in the head.

“My first reaction was he’s playing with the kids,” she said. “For a second, I thought, ‘That couldn’t happen.’ People don’t run across the street and kill kids.”

Relatives said Hinnant had been playing outside. His 7- and 8-year-old sisters witnessed the shooting, the boy’s mother said. He died at the Wilson Medical Center.

A brief manhunt ensued. Sessoms was quickly identified as the shooter, and police announced his arrest the next day. They said he was at a home in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

The motive is publicly unclear. What is pretty clear is that Semmons was connected to the family.

“We used to play together and I never thought he’d kill someone,” Rachel Pipkin, who is a cousin of Hinnant’s mother, told Fox 59 in a Wednesday report. “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.”

Hinnant was scheduled to begin kindergarten on Monday, relatives said. But now a funeral was set for Thursday. There is a candlelight vigil to take place Friday at 8 p.m. EST. on the steps of the Wilson County Courthouse.

“I want everyone to show up for my baby,” Hinnant’s mother wrote on social media, according to ABC 11. “If you love me and have any heart at all or loved my child please show up.”

The defendant is charged with a count of first-degree murder. A Wilson County court clerk told Law&Crime on Thursday that Sessoms has no attorney of record. The defendant has had a first appearance, and is scheduled for a hearing to take place August 25.

A GoFundMe campaign to help pay for funeral expenses has raised more than $100,000.

[Mugshot via Wilson Police Department]

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