WILSON, N.C. - North Carolina police are warning the public about social media posts spreading false information about the shooting of a slain 5-year-old boy.
Saturday, the Wilson Police Department shared a photo of a post that officials say was doctored seem like the police department had shade a false narrative about Cannon Hinnant's death.
"These are fraudulent posts. You can help us by reporting these fraudulent releases to Facebook so they can be removed," the Wilson Police Department 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.”
The faked post alleged that the shooting was not random and included allegations of illegal actions by the boy's father and that he was the target of the shooting.
A neighbor, 25-year-old Darius Nathaniel Sessoms, is charged with first-degree murder in Cannon’s death.
Hinnant told the newspaper that he and Sessoms were friendly and he always checked in with Sessoms’ parents, who lived next door.
Hinnant said his family is grateful for the community’s support, but he’s been disturbed by social media posts that suggest race was a factor in Cannon’s death.
Mugshot for Darius Sessoms, 25. (City of Wilson)
“This is no racial issue,” Austin Hinnant told The Wilson Times. Cannon was white and Sessoms is Black.
“It didn’t matter what color, male or female, he just had that love and joy in his heart,” he said. “He loved everyone.”
Sessoms’ parents said they believe their son was on drugs and having hallucinations at the time of the shooting.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.