Police Have Not Released A Motive For The Killing Of A 5-Year-Old Who Was Shot While Riding A Bike

Right-wing media seized on Cannon Hinnant's death to discredit Black Lives Matter and suggest a double standard among mainstream outlets, but his family has said it has "nothing to do with race."

Five-year-old Cannon Hinnant was shot and killed while riding his bike in front of his home in Wilson, North Carolina, but one week after his death, police have not said what the motive, if any, was for the shooting.

A 25-year-old neighbor has been arrested and charged with murder.

Austin Hinnant, Cannon's father, told ABC News he and his family, including his three children and fiancé, had come home from church on Aug. 9 when the kids said they wanted to play outside. A few minutes later, he heard a gunshot.

"I flew out of my front door and the first thing I see is my son laying on the ground," he told ABC News. "I had to scoop my son up and hold him in my arms as his blood ran down my arm, and all I could do was pray to God."

Cannon, who was just about to start kindergarten, was shot in the head and died on the way to a nearby hospital.

Police identified the shooting suspect as Darius N. Sessoms, a neighbor who Hinnant said had dinner with him the night before. They also shared a beer on the front porch, he said.

"I have no idea why he would kill my son in front of his two sisters and cousins," Hinnant told WRAL. "There was never anything between me and him, any bad blood whatsoever for him to have a reason to do this."

Hinnant said the two were neighbors for about eight years.

The night before the shooting, Hinnant said he had been grilling chicken and invited Sessoms when he noticed he "looked like he had a lot on his mind."

"He seemed paranoid that he thought a lot of people were trying to set him up," he said. "I don't know what it was about but it looked like he was paranoid."

The Raleigh News & Observer reported Sessoms had a criminal record that included time in prison for felony drug possession and felony firearm and drug charges.

Sessoms was charged with first-degree murder. Wilson police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The incident has caught national attention, with people on social media sharing the hashtags #justiceforcannon and #croccinforcannon.

A GoFundMe page that was hoping to raise $5,000 for Cannon's services has raised more than $611,000 as of Saturday afternoon.

Conservative and right-wing media sites have seized on Cannon's brutal and unexplained killing, claiming it as an example of media bias because Cannon is white and his suspected killer is Black. The hashtag #sayhisname, which grew out of the movement to draw attention to police killings of Black people, was also used with Cannon's name.

Although the shooting was covered widely in local and state media, outlets like Breitbart called out national outlets Thursday for not covering the shooting, including ABC, CNN, CBS, and NBC. The online publication had published a story about the killing just the day before.

On Fox News, Raymond Arroyo, who was stepping in for Laura Ingraham on The Ingraham Angle Friday, falsely suggested there was no outrage over Cannon's death.

"Cannon, a white child, was allegedly executed in front of his siblings by a 25-year-old Black man and convicted felon," Arroyo said with a chyron that read, "Where is outrage over slaying of Cannon Hinnant?"

A guest on the show, Pastor Darrell Scott, told Arroyo that Cannon's death "is a result of this atmosphere of racial hatred and hostility towards white people that is being promoted by the ultra radical left, by the Black Lives Matter organization and also by extension the Democratic Party."

However, police have given no indication about what the motive of the shooting was or suggested it was racially motivated. Cannon's parents and grandmother did not respond to requests for comment, but had told multiple news outlets that although they don't know why the 5-year-old was shot, they don't believe it was racially motivated.

"This is no racial issue," Hinnant told the Wilson Times.

His grandmother, Gwen Hinnant, told the Washington Post that although she felt her grandson's death merited more attention, the killing was not racially motivated.

Cannon's mother, Bonny Waddell, also wrote in a Facebook post referring to George Floyd, a Black man who was killed after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck, "THIS HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH RACE AND DO NOT COMPARE THIS TO FLOYD!"

Cannon's funeral was held Thursday. Waddell told WRAL she was hoping to set build a children's park with bike paths for her son, who loved to ride his bike and wear Crocs.

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