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14 August 2020 08:40

Cannon Hinnant

'He meant the world to me': Family, friends gather to honor the life of Cannon Hinnant, the 5-year-old boy who was shot and killed while riding bike in Wilson

(CNN) Police have charged a 25-year-old man with first-degree murder after they say he shot and killed a 5-year-old boy last week in Wilson, North Carolina. Austin Hinnant told CNN affiliate WRAL he was inside the home when his son, Cannon, was playing outside and was shot. Hinnant says he ran outside and scooped up the injured child and held him in his arms. "I screamed 'somebody help me, please help me save my son,'" he said. Hinnant told the affiliate he looked up and saw his neighbor, Darius Sessoms, in the yard next door with a gun in hand, pacing and frantic.

Read More (WTVD)--Family members and friends gathered on Thursday to honor the life of Cannon Hinnant, the 5-year-old boy tragically shot and killed while riding his bike in Wilson last weekend.More than 100 cars filled the funeral home parking lot and other nearby places. Family, loved ones, and strangers all showed up to lift up Cannon's family during an unthinkable time.Merrill Race, Cannon's grandfather, spoke to ABC11, expressing his pain and disbelief, "we shouldn't even be here". Race, a member of the local Guardians of the Children, describes his grandson as a "beautiful kid" who loved playing outside.Lee Parker, Cannon's stepfather, says he helped raise the young boy with his wife, Donna Waddell."He meant the world to me, just like all the other kids that are mine I helped raise," Parker added.Parker recalled getting the phone call on August 9, learning Cannon had been allegedly shot by a neighbor. He went on to say it shook him to his core."I received the call, man. I was riding down the road, and I just blacked out, couldn't even think for a few seconds, took me a minute to register it," Parker said.Since Sunday, Cannon's death has garnered national attention.

People all across the world have been using several hashtags with Cannon's name, sending prayers, words of encouragement, and even monetary donations."From Australia, Ohio, Colorado, I mean, it don't stop. It's all around the world," Parker said.Darius Sessoms, 25, is in jail on no bond, facing a first-degree murder charge. Wilson Police have not released any information regarding a motive.The family says Cannon was set to start Kindergarten this week. Cannon's grandfather, Race, angered that anyone would do this to a kid, who was just outside being a kid."That's evil. I never met this guy in my life, but that is one evil dude.

He's there where he should be," Race said.Neighbors, too, were distraught over the little boy's death.Race and Parker say their family is missing a loving, free-spirited young boy who will be deeply missed and impossible to replace."It'll never be behind us. He'll always be with us, but we're gonna get through it," Parker said.The family intends to hold a vigil in the near future, but no details or dates have been announced. Right now, they say they need some time to mourn and heal. Police: North Carolina man faces murder charge in shooting death of 5-year-old boy A North Carolina man faces a first-degree murder charge in the shooting death of a 5-year-old boy who, according to local media reports, was riding a bike in his neighborhood. Police arrested Darius Sessoms, 25, on Monday after a brief search.

The child, identified as Cannon Hinnant, was shot Sunday evening in Wilson, North Carolina, according to police. He was taken to a local hospital, where he later died. "The Wilson Police Department sends its sincerest condolences and prayers to the family of Cannon during this tragic time," WPD said in a news release. Sessoms was located inside a "residence in Goldsboro, N.C," police said. Goldsboro is about 30 minutes south of Wilson, which is 50 miles east of the state's capital city of Raleigh.

'The kids are in shock': Family says 6 children were home when Florida woman was fatally shot by ex-boyfriend "The Wilson Police Department would like to thank the US Marshals' Carolinas Violent Fugitive Task Force, Goldsboro Police Department, and Wayne County Sherriff's Dept. for their assistance in apprehending Sessoms," the Wilson Police Department said in a news release. Few details about the shooting have been made available by police. USA TODAY requested Sessoms' arrest report from the Wilson Police Department. A spokesman for the department provided a link to a police website, which listed Sessoms' Monday arrest but did not include his arrest report. The spokesman later provided an incident report to USA TODAY that didn't include any further details about Sessoms' arrest or the shooting. 'Tempers flared': Chicago man charged with attempted murder in shooting that police say sparked looting Sessoms has a court date for Aug. 25, according to online records. The Raleigh News & Observer reported Sessoms served two prison terms in 2017. Wilson County District Court Judge John Britt told Sessoms during a virtual hearing on Tuesday that he has a right to represent himself, hire a lawyer or he could ask for a court-appointed lawyer. Sessoms, who is being held in the Wilson County Jail without bond, said he wanted to try to hire a lawyer. WRAL-TV in North Carolina reported witnesses told police Cannon was riding his bike outside his father's home when he was shot in the head. WRAL reported Cannon's funeral was on Thursday. Austin Hinnant, Cannon's father, told the TV station he and Sessoms were neighbors for eight years. "There wasn't anything between me and him, any bad blood whatsoever, for him to have a reason to do this," Hinnant told the outlet. Contributing: The Associated Press "We were eating our dinner and heard a bang," Charlene Walburn told ABC affiliate WTVD. "We knew it was a gunshot. So I told him to call 911, and I ran to the door." "He would come over, him and my husband would always talk back and forth, and he would ask my husband to put air in his tire," she said. "If he saw me on the porch with a Popsicle, he would always come over and ask me if he could have a Popsicle." WILSON, N.C.--Cannon Hinnant, the 5-year-old boy who was tragically shot and killed in North Carolina last weekend, will be memorialized with a funeral Thursday and a candlelight vigil Friday night.The shooting happened around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 9.When officers arrived, they found Cannon suffering from a gunshot wound. Officers and EMS immediately began performing lifesaving efforts.The boy was taken to the hospital, where he later died.Neighbor Charlene Walburn said another neighbor told her that a man walked up to Cannon and shot him."Our neighbor saw it. She said the young man just walked up to the little boy who was sitting on his bike, which he does every day," Walburn said. "I just don't understand why he did it. How can you walk up to a little boy, point blank, and put a gun to his head and just shoot him? How could anyone do that?""We were eating our dinner and heard a bang," Walburn continued. "We knew it was a gunshot. So I told him to call 911, and I ran to the door."A suspect, 25-year-old Darius Sessoms, was arrested a day after the shooting on charges of first-degree murder.Walburn recalled spending time with Cannon."He would come over, him and my husband would always talk back and forth, and he would ask my husband to put air in his tire," she said. "If he saw me on the porch with a Popsicle, he would always come over and ask me if he could have a Popsicle."A vigil for Cannon is set for Thursday at 8 p.m. His mother posted to social media that she wanted as many people as possible to show up to the vigil to show love for Cannon."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," she wrote.A funeral for Cannon is scheduled for Thursday night.His death has picked up coverage from various nationwide outlets. The boy's family, friends and the city of Wilson, where he was from, have drawn sympathy from all over the country.