Father Of 5-Year-Old Shot In Head Had Dinner With Alleged Killer Night Before Murder

by : Emily Brown on : 17 Aug 2020 13:39
Father Of 5-Year-Old Shot In Head Had Dinner With Alleged Killer Night Before MurderWSOC/City of Wilson

The father of five-year-old Cannon Hinnant had dinner and shared beers with his son’s alleged killer the night before the heinous murder. 

Cannon was shot and killed in Wilson, North Carolina on August 9, when neighbour Darius Sessoms is accused of running up to him while he was playing outside with his sisters, putting a gun to his head and firing.


Sessoms was arrested the following day and has now been charged with first-degree murder, but Cannon’s family are still reeling with shock and grief.

Cannon’s father, Austin Hinnant, told ABC News that Sessoms had been their neighbour for eight years; he said they were always ‘cordial’ to one another and would chat when they saw each other in the street.

The day before the shooting, Hinnant actually had Sessoms over for dinner and they sat on the porch together, enjoying beers. The father said Sessoms’ demeanor seemed fine on the whole, but he noted that his neighbour seemed preoccupied with something.


The father explained:

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 neighbours’.

Man accused of shooting 5-year-old in the headCity of Wilson

Hinnant was inside his home when he heard the gunshot that Sunday afternoon, and he ran outside to find his son lying on the ground.


He recalled:

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 realised … 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.

Cannon’s family had been preparing to send the young boy off to kindergarten last week, but instead they spent their time greeting the hoards of people that showed up to honour Cannon at his funeral.

5-year-old shot in head while playing on streetGoFundMe

Hinnant described his son as a ‘loving child’, adding: ‘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.’

The family have received a wealth of support from people across the globe on social media, and they intend to hold a vigil for Cannon in the near future. A GoFundMe page has been set up to support the family, which you can find here.

Sessoms is currently in jail without bond. Our thoughts are with Cannon’s family at this tragic time.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, Murder, North Carolina


ABC News
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