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Slain North Carolina 5-year-old remembered for big smile

Investigators are still searching for a motive in the murder of a 5-year-old boy shot to death at point-blank range as he played in the yard of his father's Wilson, North Carolina home.
Investigators are still searching for a motive in the murder of a 5-year-old boy shot to death at point-blank range as he played in the yard of his father's Wilson, North Carolina home.

The North Carolina 5-year-old fatally shot while playing in his front yard carried a big smile and a big heart, the boy’s grandfather recalled at his funeral.

Merrill Race joined others at grandson Cannon Hinnant’s funeral Thursday night to mourn the boy killed as he rode his bike in the driveway of his family’s home Sunday, news outlets report.

“Cannon was the type of kid that was always polite, kind of laid back, but he was a beautiful little kid,” Race said, according to WRAL-TV.

Cannon’s youth pastor, Daryl High, said the boy was always a joy in Sunday school.

“His smile is huge. His personality is big. You could not help to be changed when you met Cannon. If a word wasn’t said, you can’t help to be changed,” High said.

Cannon’s father Austin Hinnant told The Wilson Times that the boy had been playing with his sisters outside when he heard a gunshot nearby. Hinnant said he rushed outside and found his son lying on the ground. When he scooped the boy into his arms, he realized his son had a gunshot wound to the head.

“That is why this is so horrific to me,” Hinnant said. “He was doing something he loved.”

A neighbor, 25-year-old Darius Nathaniel Sessoms, is charged with first-degree murder in Cannon’s death.