On Thursday, the funeral was held for Cannon Hinnant, the 5-year-old boy who was allegedly murdered in an execution-style shooting by his neighbor in front of his 8 and 7-year-old sisters Sunday night while riding his bike in Wilson, North Carolina.
Cannon’s grandfather, Merrill Race, distraught, told ABC11, “We shouldn’t even be here.” His grandson, who was supposed to start kindergarten this week, was a “beautiful kid” who loved playing outside, said Race.
Race said of Darius Sessoms, the 25-year-old neighbor who has been charged with first-degree murder of Cannon, “That’s evil. I never met this guy in my life, but that is one evil dude. He’s there where he should be.”
“It’ll never be behind us,” Race, a member of the local Guardians of the Children, concluded. “He’ll always be with us, but we’re going to get through it.”
Cannon’s stepfather, Lee Parker, also spoke about the tragic incident. “He meant the world to me, just like all the other kids that are mine I helped raise,” said Parker.
“I received the call, man,” he said of receiving the phone call that Cannon had been shot. “I was riding down the road, and I just blacked out, couldn’t even think for a few seconds, took me a minute to register it.”
Cannon’s father, Austin Hinnant, at whose home the tragedy occurred, recalled to WRAL, “They were just playing in the yard like any other day,” adding that he heard a gunshot as his fiancée walked into the house.
“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.”
“I screamed, ‘Somebody, please help me save my son! Help me save my son, please,'” he continued.“They can’t imagine what’s it’s like to hold your son while he’s suffering from a gunshot wound to the head, as his blood runs down my arm … As they began to work on my son, I immediately dropped to my knees and I just prayed to God, I said, ‘God, You’re the most righteous and all-powerful. Please just place Your hand on my son.’ And that’s at the top of my lungs.”
“He did place His hand on my son, not in the way that we all wished, but we’re hoping that this tragic accident can bring some love to this world because that’s what Cannon would want,” the boy’s father added. “We’re relying on our faith in God.”
Austin Hinnant said that after the shooting, Sessoms, whom Hinnant had invited over for dinner on Saturday night prior to the tragedy, was pacing with his gun in his hand before he drove 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.” As a neighbor came over with an EMT bag, Hinnant said, he knelt and prayed.
“Everybody just loved Cannon,” he said. “He lit up the room.”
Today is one of those news days that will stick with me. @bryanmimsWRAL and I had the chance to speak with Austin Hinnant, the father of Cannon. Cannon was shot in the head by their neighbor, who just the night before Austin had invited in to share a dinner. #CannonHinnant pic.twitter.com/qk0sNLPyqX
— Vinnie Boccanfuso (@VinnieBoccWRAL) August 13, 2020