NORTH CAROLINA—A North Carolina man was charged with first degree murder for the homicide of a 5-year-old boy who was shot in a Wilson neighborhood on Sunday, August 9.

Officials identified the boy as Cannon Blake Hinnant, who according to family members that spoke to WRAL, was riding his bike outside his father’s house when he was shot in the head. According to the station, his mother said that the boy’s two sisters saw the event happen. 

The Wilson Police Department identified the suspect in the case as Darius Sessoms, 25, who was a neighbor of Hinnant’s father. Doris Lybrand, who allegedly witnessed the shooting, told WRAL that she saw Sessoms running up to the boy, putting a gun in his head, firing, and running back to his house. She said she thought he was playing with the kids but realized that the gun was real when she saw the father’s reaction. Lybrand went inside her house and called 911.

The Wilson Police Department arrived at around 5:30 p.m. to 5100 block in Archers Road and they located the 5-year-old with a gunshot wound. He was transported to Wilson Medical Center where he died due to his injuries.  

Sessoms was arrested on Wednesday, August 12, after officials found him at a residence in Goldsboro, North Carolina. According to the Wilson Police Department, the man is facing first degree murder charges and received no bond. The Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, the US Marshals’ Carolinas Violent Fugitive Task Force and the Goldsboro Police Department assisted in the search.

On Thursday, August 13, funeral services were conducted for the young boy at Shingleton Funeral Home. In social media, people are commenting about the homicide and spreading the hashtag “Justice for Cannon.” A picture going around is inviting the public to a vigil in honor of the boy that will be held in front of Wilson’s County Courthouse at 8:00 p.m. on Friday.

A GoFundMe campaign has also been launched to help the family pay for funeral expenses. As of Friday morning, it had raised more than $350,000 with ten thousand donors.

This family has faced unimaginable pain because of this senseless act of violence. We are asking for your donations to assist with anything that may be needed for expenses related to his services.  We offer our sincerest appreciation in this extremely difficult time.” said Gwen Hinnant, the organizer of the fundraiser in the GoFundMe page.