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Parents of boy, 5, shot dead by neighbour call for death penalty

The family of a five-year-old North Carolina boy who was shot dead while riding his bicycle have called for the death penalty for his killer as donation surpass $750,000 for his funeral. 

Cannon Hinnant’s grieving family laid him to rest on Thursday, just days after he was fatally shot in their driveway. 

A neighbor, 25-year-old Darius Nathaniel Sessoms, has been charged with first-degree murder in his death.

Cannon’s mother, Bonny Waddell, told KCTV 5, that her ‘baby didn’t deserve this,’ adding that she wants the death penalty for Sessoms. 

‘We lost a big piece of our family,’ Waddell said through tears. 

Cannon’s father, Austin Hinnant, said he also agrees with seeking the death penalty. 

The family had only asked for $5,000 in donations to help with Cannon’s funeral, but they’ve received more than $755,000 as of Monday morning. 

The donations poured into a GoFundMe page organized by Gwen Hinnant, who identifies herself on the website as Cannon’s grandmother.

‘This family has faced unimaginable pain because of this senseless act of violence,’ the post reads.

‘We offer our sincerest appreciation in this extremely difficult time, #justice for Cannon.’

Merrill Race joined others at his grandson’s funeral on Thursday night to remember him as a ‘kid that was always polite, kind of laid back, but he was a beautiful little kid’.

Cannon’s youth pastor, Daryl High, said the boy was always a joy in Sunday school.

‘His smile is huge. His personality is big. You could not help to be changed when you met Cannon. If a word wasn’t said, you can’t help to be changed,’ High said.

Austin Hinnant told The Wilson Times that the boy had been playing with his sisters outside when he heard a gunshot nearby. 

He said he rushed outside and found his son lying on the ground. When he scooped the boy into his arms, he realized his son had a gunshot wound to the head.

‘That is why this is so horrific to me,’ Hinnant said. ‘He was doing something he loved.’

Hinnant told the newspaper that he and Sessoms were friendly and he always checked in with Sessoms’ parents, who lived next door.

The night before the shooting, Hinnant was grilling chicken, saw Sessoms ‘sitting in his car, like he had a lot on his mind’ and asked if he wanted to eat. 

The two shared a beer on the front porch, Hinnant said, adding that he saw no foreshadowing of what was ahead.

‘I have no idea why he did what he did,’ Hinnant said. ‘It was literally out of nowhere. He puts a gun to my son’s head and shoots him.’

Hinnant said his family is grateful for the community’s support, but he’s been disturbed by social media posts that suggest race was a factor in Cannon´s death.

‘This is no racial issue,’ Hinnant said. Cannon was white and Sessoms is Black.

‘It didn’t matter what color, male or female, he just had that love and joy in his heart,’ he said. ‘He loved everyone.’

Sessoms’ parents said they believe their son was on drugs and having hallucinations at the time of the shooting.

As of Monday morning, authorities have not released a motive for the killing.  

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