WILSON, N.C. (WDRB) - Family and friends said goodbye Thursday to a 5-year-old boy who was fatally shot in the North Carolina city of Wilson.
Cannon Hinnant was a little boy with a big smile and a bigger heart, according to his grandfather Merril. Race. "Cannon was the kind of kid that was always polite... just a little kid that wanted to play, kind of... but he was a beautiful little kid."
Darrius Sessoms, 25, has been charged with first-degree murder in Cannon's death. Police said that Sessoms lived next to the boy's father, although police have not released a motive. Family members said the boy was playing outside his father's house on Sunday when he was shot in the head.
Doris Lybrand, who witnessed the shooting, told WRAL that Sessoms ran up to the child and fired before running back to his own house.
"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."
The youth pastor at the Hinnant family church, Daryl High, says Cannon was a joy. "His smile is huge. His personality is big. You just could not help to be changed when you met Cannon. Even if a word wasn't said, just seeing that smile, you just could not help but be changed."
Mourners streamed into the funeral home to rally around Cannon's family. "I'm glad they're showing up and coming out and- and- and showing that they respect and they got his back and they care. We need more of this 'we care' and less of this hate," says Race.
Cannon's father, Austin Hinnant, spoke with the media. He says he has no idea why his son was targeted by riding his bike. "There was never anything between me and him, any bad blood whatsoever for him to have a reason to do this."
WRAL-TV reported that Sessoms said he planned to hire his own lawyer at a court hearing on Tuesday. He rejected a judge's attempt to appoint an attorney for him. The Wilson County clerk's office said Thursday that he had still not hired an attorney.
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