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Mother of boy, 5, shot dead says killer will ‘rot in hell’

The heartbroken mother of a five-year-old boy shot dead on Sunday by a neighbor as he played on his bike in front of his father’s house in North Carolina has said that her son’s alleged killer will ‘rot in hell’.

Darius Sessoms, 25, was charged Monday with the murder of Cannon Hinnant after a 24-hour manhunt.

Sessoms, a next-door neighbor of Cannon’s father Austin, allegedly rushed up to the young boy and shot him point blank in the head in front of his seven-year-old and eight-year-old sisters before fleeing the scene at 5:30pm Sunday.

Hinnant’s devastated family is now calling for justice as his mother Bonny Waddell reveals the incredible heartbreak her daughters are feeling having witnessed his death. 

She said the girls lost a ‘piece of their heart’ with their brother’s tragic killing. 

‘I will burn this country down if it’s what it’ll take to see this man burn in hell. I’m ready to flip this county upside down,’ Waddell wrote to Facebook Monday.

‘This was not because my baby was riding a bike.

‘We will get our justice and I’m taking every damn body down right with him!

‘Please ride the roads, keep your eyes out. My other kids are in danger as threats were made, this scum bag is not far,’ she added, hours before Sessoms was arrested.

‘I want this man to be taken away from his child forever.’

‘This man will answer to me, that man will see me and my son through my face! This sorry excuse as a human being will rot in hell,’ Waddell said in a separate post.

‘My heart has been taken from me.’

She added that the suspect knew Hinnant and how ‘loving’ he was.

‘My baby didn’t see color, my baby made sure you knew he loved you even if he only knew you 5 minutes idc what damn color you were!’ she wrote.

‘Cannon was always telling everyone he loved them. Ask the SOB who took my baby, he knew my child and just how sweet, innocent and loving he was too.’

On Tuesday night, Waddell shared the distress of her young daughters, traumatized by the death of their brother.

‘Please everyone take a minute out of your night and pray really really hard for my girls,’ she wrote. ‘Please, I’m begging! They just lost a puzzle piece, their best friend, a piece of their heart and they know their mommy is not okay either.’

Waddell also shared photos of herself and her son stating: ‘One thing was for sure, he loves his mommy and he knew just how much mommy loved him.

‘That’s my heart man. I can’t do this without you being the boss man,’ she added. 

Hinnant’s grandmother Lori also hit out at the killer online, on Tuesday asking: ‘When are we going to write Children’s Lives Matter on Hollywood Boulevard?’

‘A hard lesson God taught me just the other day, don’t allow misunderstandings to make you bitter, communicate, be present and listen to what your loved ones have to say, one day all of this will fall away,’ she added Wednesday.  

The family has organized a vigil for the young boy on Friday at 8pm on the steps of Cannon Courthouse in Wilson. His funeral takes place Thursday. 

‘I want everyone to show up for my baby, if you love me and have any heart at all or loved my child please show up,’ Waddell urged. ‘I will get justice for my baby.’

Wilson’s Mayor Carlton Stevens also urged local residents to attend. 

‘We stood together in solidarity for the senseless death of George Floyd, we need to stand together in solidarity for the senseless death of Cannon Hinnant. His life mattered,’ he wrote to Facebook. 

Sessoms was taken into custody by Wilson police around 24 hours after he allegedly approached Cannon in front of the young boy’s father’s house at 5:30pm and shot him in the head.

He lived next door to the family, and the killing is not believed to be random. Neighbors claim he had dinner with Hinnant’s father Austin on Saturday and had been over at the house earlier on Sunday.

The motive for the killing is still under investigation, but a GoFundMe established by a family member says that the young boy rode into Sessoms’ yard.

‘Sunday, August 9, 2020 a sweet soul named Cannon Hinnant was taken from this world over a senseless act,’ it reads.

‘A beautiful 5 year old baby boy riding his bicycle was shot by his neighbor point blank in Wilson NC. One minute he is enjoying his life, the next it all ends because he rode into his neighbors yard.’

The young boy was set to start Kindergarten on Monday and had just learned to write his name.

‘He was just a loving kid,’ Waddell previously told the Wilson Times. ‘He had the biggest heart.’

‘It’s devastating. No one should ever have to bury their child. No mother should have to go through this.’

Hinnant’s family said they have known the suspect for years and did not believe he could be capable of murder. 

‘We used to play together and I never thought he’d kill someone. 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,’ Rachel Pipkin, a cousin of Cannon’s mother told CBS. 

Police were called to the scene on Archers Road at around 5.30pm Sunday where Hinnant was found with a gunshot wound. 

The young boy’s grandmother Lori Hinnant posted to Facebook straight after the shooting spreading the word and sharing an image from the scene. 

‘Ok y’all I am distraught…I took my daughter to my son’s to play with her nieces and nephew and my grandson Cannon was shot by his neighbor in the head….the boy was about to shoot all the kids…All I am asking for right now is prayers y’all!!’ she wrote. 

Emergency responders tried to save Hinnant and he was taken to the Wilson Medical Center but later died. 

Sessoms was immediately identified as the suspect.  

He fled the scene in a black 2019 Toyota Corolla and was later located by authorities in a residence in Goldsboro. 

Police charged him with first degree murder on Monday, and he is being held with no bond.

He made his first ten-minute court appearance virtually from Wilson County Jail on Tuesday morning. 

Wilson County District Court Judge John Britt read Sessoms his rights and the charge he is facing. The suspect said he would be seeking his own attorney to represent him. 

He probable cause hearing was set for August 25. 

According to the Wilson Times, Sessoms 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.  

Court records also show that Sessoms has two pending counts of felony maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for a controlled substance in Wilson County. 

Goldsboro Police Department, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshals Service task force assisted in his arrest. 

‘The Wilson Police Department sends its sincerest condolences and prayers to the family of Cannon during this tragic time,’ a police spokesperson said Monday. 

Neighbor Doris Labrant witnessed the shooting through her window from across the street. 

She told WRAL she saw Sessoms run up to the young boy, put the gun to his head and fire before running back to his own house. 

‘My first reaction was he’s playing with the kids,’ Labrant said. ‘For a second, I thought, “That couldn’t happen”. People don’t run across the street and kill kids.’

On seeing Hinnant’s father’s reaction, however, she realized that the shooting was real and ran to lock herself inside and call 911. 

‘Austin ran out of that house screaming and picked him up. They’ll never get over it,’ she said. 

‘You don’t expect to see somebody shoot someone. 

‘It’s almost like seeing a movie and then all of a sudden it dawns on you it’s not a movie.’

She added that Sessoms’ parent lived on the street for about 28 years and that she had not previously heard any altercations between the families. 

‘There was no yelling, screaming,’ she claimed.  

Neighbors gathered around the scene on Sunday night, shocked that the killing happened in their quiet neighborhood. 

‘It’s usually quiet here. You might hear cars kind of loud and stuff like that, but as far as this right here going on, no, you don’t see nothing like this. It’s sad, it hurts and justice needs to be served,’ said neighbor Frank Harvey told CBS. 

Speaking the WRAL, the boy’s grandmother said that the family is happy to see Sessoms in custody but are devastated by the death. 

They held a tribute Monday afternoon at his grandparents’ house in Black Creek in which they called for an end to violence against children. 

‘Really everybody just wants answers as to why this was done. There will be justice,’ said Allan Wooten, the boy’s uncle. 

His family described Hinnant as a nature lover who would look after injured insects. 

‘He loved being outside,’ his mother said. ‘He always tried to save some creature. He loved any animal, any insect.’

She added that he loved his bikes and his two sisters and two brothers and that she had now nominated him for organ donation with the hope that he can live on through other children.

‘He can live on through other kids,’ she said. ‘It was what he would have done if he was older. He would have saved anybody. He was the sweetest child.’

‘He was one of a kind,’ grandfather Greg Waddell told The Wilson Times. ‘He loved to talk to everybody. He wasn’t shy.’

‘He always had a smile on his face,’ grandmother Wendy added. ‘I can see him right now. Beautiful soul. He wasn’t scared of anything. He was very courageous.’

Monday’s event was attended by Mayor Stevens who also paid tribute to the young boy. 

‘I have a child that’s five years old. My heart broke right then. I went home right then and I took my baby and just hugged her,’ he said.

If anyone has any information that could help, they are urged to contact Wilson Police at (252) 399-2323 or Crime Stoppers at (252) 243-2255. 

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