Police Warn Of Posts With Fake Details Of Cannon Hinnant's Alleged Murder Being Shared On Social Media

Police in Wilson, North Carolina warned social media users against sharing fraudulent Facebook posts which claim to offer details about the August 9 alleged shooting death of five-year-old Cannon Hinnant.

The Wilson Police Department say they have been made aware of numerous widely shared Facebook posts which fraudulently claim to have the "real story" behind Hinnant's alleged murder. The young North Carolina boy was allegedly shot by his neighbor, 25-year-old Darius Sessoms, as he was playing outside with siblings. Sessoms was arrested and held by Wilson Police last Monday, he is charged with first-degree murder and received no bond.

One fraudulent Facebook post highlighted by Wilson Police makes several claims about drug usage, premeditation and details of a fight between Sessoms and Hinnant's parents the night before the incident. All of which, the department said, is fabricated and made to look like it came from their investigators.

A Wilson Police spokesman confirmed to Newsweek Monday the department has been aware of fraudulent social media posts pertaining to the alleged crime since last week. The public information officer urged people concerned with the case to use caution before sharing anything that didn't come directly from official Wilson Police or City of Wilson websites, as well as mainstream and local news media outlets.

The alleged murder came into the national spotlight over the past week as viral memes and Facebook posts sought to highlight the case involving a young white victim and a Black alleged perpetrator.

Last Wednesday, Wilson Police issued a statement saying they were aware of "numerous posts containing false information on social media, including some posts that look like they were releases from investigators." Wilson police say more fraudulent Facebook and social media posts pertaining to the alleged crime continue to spread and urged people to use good judgment before sharing anything which claims to come from law enforcement.

"We continue to see social media posts incorrectly including the Wilson Police Department name that were NOT issued by our department. An example is shown below. Please do not share these posts and report them to Facebook," the Wilson Police Department wrote on their page Saturday. The post included links to their official website which features extended updates on the case and other local information for Wilson residents.

"We only release information to mainstream news media outlets and through press releases. If you didn't get it from the city website or city Facebook page or local mainstream media report, then I would highly suspect what it is you're sharing," a department spokesperson told Newsweek on Monday.

The parents of Hinnant told local news outlets over the weekend they would like to seek the death penalty against Sessoms, who was their neighbor for eight years. Austin Hinnant, Cannon's father, told WRAL-TV Sunday he was shocked by the crime and "there wasn't anything between me and [Sessoms], any bad blood whatsoever," prior to the alleged shooting on August 9.

cannon hinnant wilson police murder
Police in Wilson, North Carolina warned social media users against sharing fraudulent Facebook posts which claim to offer details about the August 9 alleged shooting death of five-year-old Cannon Hinnant. Screenshot: Hinnant Family Handout