Father Can't Explain Why Suspect Shot His 5-Year-Old

'There wasn't anything between me and him,' says Austin Hinnant
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2020 3:10 PM CDT

A North Carolina father says his 5-year-old boy was killed by their neighbor for no apparent reason—the day after the two men had dinner together, the Washington Post reports. Austin Hinnant says he was grilling chicken at his Wilson home last Saturday when he saw his neighbor of 8 years, Darrius Sessoms, "sitting in his car, like he had a lot on his mind." So Hinnant invited him over: "The Lord says to love your neighbor," he explains. "I was trying to do something nice." The two apparently had a beer on Hinnant's porch and left on good terms. "There wasn't anything between me and him, any bad blood whatsoever, for him to have a reason to do this," Hinnant tells WRAL. And yet, the next day, Hinnant was cradling his dying boy in his arms.

Hinnant says his son Cannon was out bike-riding when he heard a gun go off. The father ran outside and held his wounded child as the shooter paced nearby with gun in hand, then drove away. "I was so full of rage, but I couldn't leave my son's side," says Hinnant. Authorities tracked Sessoms down the next day and charged him with first-degree murder, but police are yet to provide a motive. Witnesses say Sessoms, who had a criminal record, just walked up and shot Cannon in the head. Conservative media outlets accused the media of burying the story, saying it's because Hinnant is white and Sessoms is Black, but it did appear on CNN and USA Today within 5 days of the murder. "This is no racial issue," says Hinnant. A GoFundMe page for Hinnant's family has raised over $650,000. (Read more murder stories.)

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