Family and friends gathered Thursday night to honor the life of 5-year-old Cannon Hinnant, who was fatally shot while riding his bicycle in Wilson, North Carolina, over the weekend.
What are the details?
According to WTVD-TV, at least 100 cars showed up to pay their respects to Cannon and his family Thursday evening.
Hinnant family neighbor, Darrius Sessoms, 25, reportedly gunned Cannon down as he rode his bicycle during a dusky summer evening on Sunday.
The boy’s grandfather, Merrill Race, told the station that his beloved grandson was a “beautiful” child who loved to be outdoors.
“We shouldn’t even be here,” he said.
Of Sessoms, Race added, “That’s evil. I never met this guy in my life, but that is one evil dude. He’s [in jail] where he should be.”
Sessoms reportedly rushed Cannon over the weekend as the little boy, who was headed to kindergarten the following Monday, rode his bike in the street.
Eyewitnesses say that they saw Sessoms pull out a gun and execute the unwitting child in full view.
Authorities arrested the 25-year-old suspect on Monday, charging him with first-degree murder in Cannon’s death. He was jailed without bond and is due to appear on court on Aug. 25. The Wilson Police Department has not released any information on a motive for the shooting.
Cannon’s stepfather, Lee Parker, said that the young boy “meant the world” to him. Parker said he’ll never forget the moment he received the call that Cannon was dead.
“I received the call, man,” he said, recalling the moment he heard the devastating news. “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 that he and his family will never get past the child’s murder.
“It’ll never be behind us,” he insisted. “He’ll always be with us, but we’re going to get through it.”
‘We’re relying on our faith in God’
A GoFundMe page for the family has received more than $418,000 in donations so far.
Cannon’s father, Austin Hinnant, told reporters that when first responders arrived on the scene to attend to his son, he began praying.
“As they began to work on my son, I immediately dropped to my knees and I just prayed to God, I said, ‘God, You’re the most righteous and all-powerful. Please just place Your hand on my son,'” he recalled. “He did place His hand on my son, not in the way that we all wished, but we’re hoping that this tragic accident can bring some love to this world because that’s what Cannon would want.”
“We’re relying on our faith in God,” Hinnant added.