Police in North Carolina said a 25-year-old man allegedly approached a 5-year-old boy before shooting and killing him.
The shooting happened around 5:30 p.m. in Wilson, North Carolina, located near Raleigh.
When police arrived, they discovered 5-year-old Cannon Hinnant suffering from a gunshot wound. Authorities immediately started performing lifesaving efforts, officials told ABC11. Hinnant later died at Wilson Medical Center.
Darius N. Sessoms was identified as the suspected gunman, and officials announced after 4:30 p.m. that he was arrested and taken into custody.
According to WRAL, family members said Cannon was playing outside his father’s home when he was shot. The boy’s sisters, aged 7 and 8, saw the boy get shot, the child’s mother said.
A GoFundMe was started for the boy’s family, raising more than $5,000 as of Tuesday.
Police said the shooting wasn’t random, as Sessoms lives next door to the boy’s father. A neighbor said the two men had dinner together on Saturday night and Sessoms was at the home earlier on Sunday, WRAL reported.
Doris Lybrand, a neighbor, told the station that she saw Sessoms run to Cannon, put the gun near his head, and fired before running into his home.
“My first reaction was he’s playing with the kids,” Lybrand said. “For a second, I thought, ‘That couldn’t happen.’ People don’t run across the street and kill kids.”
Lybrand then realized it was real, went in her home, and called 911.
“You don’t expect to see somebody shoot someone,” she said.
Lybrand said she’s happy that Sessoms was arrested but is devastated by the slaying.
“A beautiful 5 year old baby boy riding his bicycle was shot by his neighbor point blank in Wilson, NC. One minute he is enjoying his life, the next it all ends because he rode into his neighbors yard,” according to the GoFundMe.
Anyone with information about the shooting should call the Wilson Police Department at 252-399-2323 or Crime Stoppers at 252-243-2255.