Great aunt of slain 5-year-old Cannon Hinnant speaks out: ‘My heart’s broken’

Local News

POWHATAN COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A 5-year-old boy brutally murdered outside his father’s home in North Carolina has been laid to rest. His great aunt spoke to 8News Friday, announcing plans to hold a vigil in Powhatan, the town where she grew up. 

Cannon Hinnant was shot in the head while riding his bike Sunday evening in Wilson, North Carolina. His neighbor, 25-year-old Darrius Sessoms, is charged with the crime.

Diann Frank was notified of her great nephew’s death by her sister’s Facebook page. She says she was outraged and heartbroken to hear that her sister’s grandson had died in such a senseless crime.

“When he got shot, his two little sisters watched in horror. They received powder burns from their little brother getting shot,” Frank said.

Frank said Cannon had two older sisters and the incident “will stick with them for the rest of their lives.”

Cannon Hinnant

After the shooting, Cannon’s father, Austin Hinnant, rushed to his son’s side. According to Frank, the family that lives in North Carolina has known the alleged killer, Sessoms, for a long time. 

Frank adds that her sister’s children used to travel to Powhatan to visit. She told 8News she watched Cannon grow up through photos online. The Hinnant family is heartbroken, she says, adding that she knows that the pain Cannon’s parents are feeling is unimaginable.

Revealing an unfortunate incident from a few years ago, Frank says her daughter ended up in the hospital and almost lost her life.

“Me coming that close to losing my daughter…that’s probably one hundred times worse than what I can imagine,” Frank said. 

Diann Frank

Born and raised in Powhatan, Frank is reaching out to the community. She plans to hold a candlelight vigil to remember her great-nephew. 

“This had nothing to do with race. This is for Cannon. To celebrate his short-lived life because he was taken way to soon and to honor my family down in North Carolina… to let them know that my heart’s broken too because of it,” Frank said.

The vigil will be held Sunday evening at the Powhatan Courthouse. Its set to begin at 7 p.m. Frank told 8News she would supply the candles. All she asks from community members is to wear Cannon’s favorite shoes, crocs, in honor of him.


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