For people living on Archers Road, a small-town street of mostly modular homes with toys strewn across the front yards, losing 5-year-old Cannon Hinnant ached like losing a limb.
Kids here knew each other well, said Consuela Groves, a grandmother who lives next door to Hinnant.
She pulled an iPhone from her pocket and showed a video she took of the boy playing with her Chihuahua mix, Nick, who tolerated no other toddlers’ company.
“When he played with him,” she said, “Nick calmed down. Everyone is crying. Everyone is, ‘Why?’ If someone could do this to a little boy … .”
Cannon died from a gunshot wound Sunday at his home on Archers Road, Wilson police said. Officers, Wayne County sheriff’s deputies and U.S. marshals chased Darius Sessoms, 25, to Goldsboro, where they arrested and charged him with first-degree murder.
Officers on Wednesday did not allow an N&O reporter into the Wilson police station to obtain a police report from the shooting, citing COVID-19 safety protocol. Instead, the reporter was referred to the police website, which did not include a report from Sunday’s shooting as of Thursday morning. Police have declined to comment beyond a press release.
Groves said she knew Cannon’s family from years of living there but she said Sessoms, their neighbor on the other side of Cannon’s house, was a mystery to her. In Sessoms’ yard was a large sign that read, “Be Humble, Pray,” with a reference to Chronicles. Many other yards in the neighborhood displayed the same sign.
But records in the Wilson County Courthouse show trouble coming from the homes of both the suspect and the victim’s father.
Sessoms served two short prison terms in 2017, one for felony drug possession and another for felony firearms and drug charges.
Three times, his record shows, police charged him with maintaining a house for drug activity while living on Archers Road. He was convicted in one case; another was dismissed and another charge was still pending.
Austin and Bonny Hinnant had three children before divorcing last year, court records show; and the children were at the father’s house on Archers Road on weekends. Austin Hinnant’s court record showed a 2019 conviction for assault on a female, a misdemeanor, and he was ordered to complete a substance abuse assessment. He had a conviction for resisting a public officer in 2017.
A funeral for Cannon Hinnant will be held on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Shingleton Funeral Home in Wilson, according to the funeral home’s website.
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