Prison officer suspended for saying murder victim aged 5 ‘should have ducked’
A prison officer has been suspended after writing that a five-year-old boy shot dead as he rode his bike “should’ve ducked”.
Tragic Cannon Hinnant died on August 9 after allegedly being shot by a neighbour at point-blank range for riding into his garden.
He was gunned down in front of his sisters, aged seven and eight, as they played outside their family home in Wilson, North Carolina.
After the shocking killing, Rome Smith, an officer at the Juvenile Detention Centre in New Jersey, reportedly said the blame lay with the little boy’s parents.
He posted on Facebook : “He should’ve ducked.
“Y’all always trying to sneak diss and discredit a black person being killed innocently by police.
“Blame cannon’s parents for not watching him!!! F Y’ALL.”
Neighbour Darius Sessoms, 25, has been arrested and is accused of pulling the trigger on the little boy at around 5.30pm.
Sessoms has since been been charged with first-degree murder following the little boy’s death.
Smith’s Facebook page appears to have been deleted, but screenshots of the insensitive post have been widely shared.
Cumberland County chiefs told NBC in a statement that the post was “shockingly insensitive and racist in tone”.
Cumberland County Freeholder Director Joseph Derella said: “We will not tolerate county employees using social media to broadcast hateful messages,’.
“This is not who we are and we intend to pursue the strongest action available to us.”
Cannon’s mother Bonny Waddell told KCTV 5 that she wants her son’s killer to face the death penalty.
A GoFundMe appeal for the victim’s family said: “Sunday, August 9, 2020 a sweet soul named Cannon Hinnant was taken from this world over a senseless act.
“A beautiful five-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.”
Cannon’s family said they have known Sessoms for years and did not think he could murder anyone.
Rachel Pipkin, a cousin of Cannon’s mum, told CBS : “We used to play together and I never thought he’d kill someone.
“A mother now has to lay her son to rest at 5 years old which she should never have to do. He’ll never be forgotten.”