In a recent interview, Cannon Hinnant’s father remembered the way his son was able to connect with everyone and light up a room.
Austin Hinnant spoke out this week about the murder of the 5-year-old, which has garnered national interest. Police said Cannon Hinnant was riding a bike outside his home in Wilson, North Carolina, when a neighbor walked up and shot him in the back of the head. Authorities have not discussed a potential motive in the grisly killing.
Police have arrested 25-year-old Darrius Sesssoms for the murder. He is being held without bail in North Carolina.
Austin Hinnant said he has no idea why the man would allegedly shoot the young boy, noting that the family had invited him over for dinner and that the two would sit together on the porch and drink beer.
“The Lord says to love our neighbor. I have plenty of food to go around. I just wanted to be nice,” Hinnant said, via WRAL.
He added that there was never a problem with Sessoms in the past and that there was no bad blood between them.
Austin Hinnant also looked back on the positive impact the child had on the world.
“Everybody just loved Cannon. He lit up the room,” he said.
The community has come together to mourn the boy’s passing, with many in the town of Wilson paying their respects at a memorial service. Many remembered his smile and his love of riding his bike.
Cannon Hinnant was laid to rest on Friday, but the family is still grappling with the meaning behind the attack that took his life. His father shared that his son was playing outside with his 8- and 7-year-old sisters when there was a loud sound. The elder Hinnant said that he did not realize his son was gravely injured at first.
“The first thing that went through my mind was maybe he just fell off his bike,” he said. “The closer I got to him, the more I realized it was something far more serious.”
The father said he took the young boy into his arms and screamed for help. A neighbor tried to perform CPR while the alleged shooter stood nearby for a short time, gun in hand.
The killing has attracted national attention and some controversy, with some questioning whether there was a racial motive for the slaying.
Sessoms faces charges of first-degree murder for Cannon Hinnant’s slaying.