Family of 5-year-old boy shot and killed by a neighbor: 'We shouldn't even be here'

Saturday, August 15, 2020

The family of Cannon Hinnant will never get over the loss of their little boy.

The 5-year-old was shot and killed by a neighbor while riding his bike in Wilson, North Carolina, last weekend, according to police.

"We shouldn't even be here," Cannon's grandfather, Merrill Race, told ABC News Raleigh-Durham station WTVD. "Cannon was the type of kid that was always polite, kind of laid back. But he was a beautiful little kid."

Cannon's family said they were preparing to send him to kindergarten, which was set to start this week. But instead, they spent their time receiving the more than 100 cars who arrived for his funeral.

"Cannon was a loving child. He loved going to Church. He lit up any room he walked into. I mean, any store we were in, he would talk to a stranger," Austin Hinnant, Cannon's father, told ABC News.

Hinnant said that the tragedy began as a normal day.

"They all wanted to go ride their bikes and enjoy their Sunday afternoon. Just like any other Sunday. And [then] it wasn't 20 to 30 minutes later," said Hinnant.

When Hinnant heard the gunshots, he said he ran out his front door.

"The first thing I see is my son laying on the ground and it crossed my mind that maybe he just fell off his bike. As I got closer to him and I scooped him up in my arms I realized ... how horrific it was... I had to scoop my son up and hold him in my arms as blood ran down my arm and all I could do was pray to God," said Hinnant.

Cannon's two sisters were there to witness the tragic event. "It's been very tough for my two daughters," said Hinnant.

The young boy's killing has garnered international attention. People from around the world have been using several hashtags related to Cannon's death on social media to send prayers, words of encouragement and donations to his family.

Alleged shooter Darius Sessoms, 25, was arrested Monday after fleeing the scene, and is now in jail without bond facing a first-degree murder charge, Wilson police said. It's unclear when his next day in court is.

"We've been neighbors for eight years," Hinnant told ABC News. "We had just been cordial neighbors, like anybody else. We would speak when we saw one another and he may walk over and talk to me for a few moments and vice-versa."

On Saturday, the day before the fatal shooting, Cannon's father had Sessoms over for dinner. Hinnant told ABC News that they shared a beer together on the porch and that Sessoms' demeanor seemed fine.

But he said Sessoms also seemed paranoid about an event that happened Friday night.

"He looked like he had a lot on his mind and I was cooking chicken on the grill so I invited him into my home... We're supporters of God and I just told him that, 'God tells us to love our neighbors,'" said Hinnant.

The family says they intend to hold a vigil in the near future, but is taking time now to mourn and heal.

"[Cannon] loved everyone," Hinnant said, "and he would ask that we all come together in his name and try to unite this country and love one another."

ABC News' Seniboye Tienabeso, Brendan Rand, Malka Abramoff and Bryan Keinz contributed to this report.

Related Topics