“He was very full of life,” Gwen Hinnant said to USA TODAY on Friday.
A grandmother such as her had to be prepared for one of the boy’s regular visits, and for him to be ready to play. It wasn’t only bicycling he loved to do, he also rode Lawnmowers and 4-wheelers, anything that has wheels. But his sense of humor is what she remembers about him the most.
The grandmother laughed and retold her favorite story. Cannon, who was 4-years-old at the time, was visiting with his two older sisters when she kneeled down onto the floor and asked the boy a question, “Will you take care of me when I’m old?“ “You’re already old, grandma,” Cannon replied.
The boy’s answer wasn’t mean spirited. “Cannon loved everybody,” Hinnant mentioned. He also loved to have battled with water guns, and he liked money, she said while laughing. He often asked his dad, Austin Hinnant, for $2.
Most of the time Cannon lived with his mother, Bonny Waddell, and step-father, Lee Parker. But last weekend, he was visiting his dad, who is Gwen Hinnant’s stepson. Police haven’t released many details about Cannon’s death, besides that a man being charged for his murder.
But a grieving Austin Hinnant gave his telling to local media WRAL. Cannon was riding his bicycle when the shooting took place on Sunday, hours after he attended church with the family. Austin Hinnant was inside the home when he heard the fatal gunshot. He went outside and ran towards his dying son. He also saw a neighbor there named Darius Sessoms, walking around with a gun.
“I have no idea why he would kill my son in front of his two sisters,” Hinnant told WRAL.
Hinnant said the incident-filled him with rage but he didn’t leave his son’s side. “I just scooped him up in my arms and held him — and held him, and I screamed: ‘Somebody help me. Please help me save my son. God, save my son, please.’ “
25-year-old Sessoms is facing a first-degree murder charge. Cannon’s story made national headlines and touched the country, with thousands of people making donations to a GoFundMe that Gwen Hinnant set up. As of Saturday afternoon, it raised over $600,000. That money will assist with expenses following his death and things such as therapy for his sisters.
Gwen hopes enough money will be raised to fund a project that helps memorialize Cannon’s story. Maybe a bike park for children, Hinnant said. That’s something “Cannon would have loved and other children will enjoy.”
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.