In what might be one of the evilest crimes reported, a neighbor allegedly rushed a 5-year-old boy playing outside and put a gun to his head. However, that’s sadly far from the worst of it.
Cannon Hinnant, a 5-year-old boy, was playing outside his father’s Wilson, North Carolina home on a Sunday evening when his neighbor, 25-year-old Darius N. Sessoms, ran up to him. As Cannon was riding his bicycle, Sessoms rushed him, produced a handgun, and shot him in the head — all while the boy’s 7-year-old and 8-year-old sisters witnessed the terrifying ordeal.
Initially, another neighbor thought Sessoms must have been playing with the kids, even though she saw him running up to Cannon, putting the gun to his head, and firing the weapon before fleeing the scene into his own home. “My first reaction was he’s playing with the kids,” Doris Lybrand recalled, explaining that she simply couldn’t believe her eyes.
“For a second I thought, ‘That couldn’t happen.’ People don’t run across the street and kill kids,” Lybrand added. Sadly, some people apparently do because that’s exactly what Sessoms had done, fatally shooting Cannon in the head. When Lybrand saw Cannon’s father’s reaction to the scene that had unfolded, the grave reality of the situation became all too clear.
Lybrand said she quickly went inside her home, locked the door, and tried to call 911. “You don’t expect to see somebody shoot someone,” she said. After the shooting, first responders arrived at the scene and transported the little boy to Wilson Medical Center, but it was too late. Cannon was pronounced dead following the gunshot wound to his head, executed while innocently riding his bike.
Darius N. Sessoms initially ran back into his own home, but he later fled the scene in a 2019 Toyota Corolla and went on the run, according to Crime Online. A day-long manhunt ensued before he was taken into custody the following evening, apprehended in Goldsboro by members of the U.S. Marshals Service Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force, Goldsboro police, and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. He was charged with first-degree murder and ordered held at the Wilson Country Jail without bond.
Sadly, this wasn’t Sessoms’ first run-in with the law. According to the Wilson Times, he was previously “convicted of felony larceny of firearms in Wilson County in March 2016, misdemeanor maintaining a place for a controlled substance in Wake County in April 2016, and felony marijuana possession in Nash County in November 2016, according to N.C. Department of Public Safety records.”
The outlet added that Sessoms also had his probation revoked twice in 2017, resulting in separate three-month stints in prison and said that court records also indicate that Sessoms has two pending counts of felony maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for a controlled substance in Wilson County.
Although authorities had not determined a motive for the shooting at the time of Sessoms’ arrest, they insisted that the killing wasn’t random since Sessoms was reportedly friendly with Cannon’s father, Austin Hinnant, The Blaze reported. According to WRAL, “Sessoms lives next door to Cannon’s father, and a neighbor said that the two men had dinner together Saturday night and that Sessoms was at his neighbor’s home earlier Sunday.”
Crime Online adds that they had been neighbors “for years,” and members of the family are in complete disbelief that he would kill anyone, let alone execute Cannon in such a heartless manner. “We used to play together and I never thought he’d kill someone,” Rachel Pipkin, a cousin of Cannon’s mother, said. “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.”
The family was happy to know that Sessoms had been arrested, but they’re devastated by the young boy’s senseless killing. “[A] sweet soul named Cannon Hinnant was taken from this world over a senseless act. A beautiful 5-year-old baby boy riding his bicycle was shot by his neighbor point-blank,” Christina Prezioso, a cousin of Cannon’s father, wrote on a GoFundMe page set up to benefit the family.
“One minute he is enjoying his life, the next it all ends because he rode into his neighbor’s yard,” Prezioso added, acting as a spokesperson for the family. “Nothing prepares a parent for the loss of their child. No child should ever have their future stolen from them.”
Of course, many are plagued by one question: Why? “Really everybody just wants answers as to why this was done. There will be justice,” Allan Wooten, Cannon’s uncle, said, according to CBS 17. Sadly, there will never be an answer that justifies such a senseless crime against an innocent child.