Online post saying Cannon Hinnant, 5, ‘should have DUCKED’ to avoid killer gets juvenile detention officer suspended

A NEW Jersey Juvenile Detention officer was suspended for allegedly writing that slain five-year-old Cannon Hinnant "should have ducked."

Rome Smith is accused of writing the horrific statement about little Cannon, who was killed on August 9.



The North Carolina boy had been playing with his sisters in their front yard in Wilson when he was allegedly shot by a neighbor.

Darius Nathaniel Sessoms, 25, a black man, was arrested and is charged with first-degree murder in Cannon's death.

Screenshots of Smith's alleged Facebook comment were shared on Twitter.

"Y'all always trying to sneak diss and discredit a black person being killed innocently by police," Smith wrote.

"Blame cannon's parents for not watching him!!! F Y'ALL."

Smith is a black officer at the Juvenile Detention Center in Cumberland County, New Jersey.


County spokeswoman Jody Hirata told NBC News that Smith was suspended over the horrific post.

The disgraced officer appears to have deleted his Facebook account as of Wednesday, August 19.

Cumberland County officials what he wrote as "shockingly insensitive and racist in tone" without naming Smith.

They said it had been removed.

"We will not tolerate county employees using social media to broadcast hateful messages," Cumberland County Freeholder Director Joseph Derella said.

"This is not who we are and we intend to pursue the strongest action available to us."


Witnesses said Cannon was riding his bike in the driveway of his Wilson home when a neighbor walked up to him and shot him in the head, WRAL reported.

Cannon's dad Austin Hinnant, told The Wilson Times he wasn't friends with Sessoms but they were on good terms before he allegedly shot his son – they even shared a beer on the front porch the night before.

Hinnant said regularly checked in on Sessoms’ parents, who lived next door.

The Associated Press reported that Sessoms’ parents think he was on drugs when he shot the five-year-old boy.

"I have no idea why he would kill my son in front of his two sisters and his cousin," Hinnant told WRAL.

"There was never anything between me and him, any bad blood whatsoever for him to have a reason to do this."


On Monday, Sessoms made his first in-court appearance Monday and said nothing, The Wilson Times reported.

He's being held at Wilson County Detention Center without a bond and does not have an attorney.

Hinnant said he is horrified at some suggestions on social media that race was a factor in the brutal slaying of his young son.

"This is no racial issue," Hinnant told The Wilson Times. "It didn't matter what color, male or female, he just had that love and joy in his heart," Hinnant said. "He loved everyone."

In an emotional Facebook post, Cannon's mother, Bonny Waddell, begged people to stop comparing the five-year old's death to the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man.

"THIS HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH RACE AND DO NOT COMPARE THIS TO FLOYD!" she wrote.

"MY SWEET CANNON NEVER SAW COLOR, HE LOVED EVERYBODY. HE WAS INNOCENT, LOVING … AND THIS CRUEL MAN TOOK HIM AWAY FROM US FOR NO REASON."

Little Canon was laid to rest on Thursday after more than $750,000 was raised for his funeral expenses.

The GoFundMe page was organized by Gwen Hinnant, who said she is Cannon's grandmother.

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