An 11-year-old boy fought off an alleged would-be robber with a machete, striking the man in the back of the head after escaping from a closet in the home.
Braydon Smith told local station WFMY that he had been alone at his Mebane home Friday when he heard a knock at the door. The 11-year-old didn’t answer the door, but soon heard a man breaking into the home.
“When he came in the room, he pointed the gun at me and told me to sit down on the ground and get in my closet. And I did that,” Smith said.
The suspect, later identified by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office as Jataveon Hall, 19, allegedly began to gather electronics in the home before going back into Smith’s room to question the 11-year-old.
“He found my phone on the counter and he took the phone but he dropped it, and that’s when I picked up my machete and hit him in the back of the head,” Smith said, who is a star baseball player on several North Carolina teams.
A fight soon broke out between the pair, with the would-be robber kicking Smith in the stomach as Smith tried to swing the machete again, but missed.
Hall allegedly kicked Smith in the head, before realizing that blood gushing from his own head wound. He ran from the home, fleeing with another male and female who were also at the scene, authorities said, according to WRAL.
“Not only did this youngster thwart the larceny attempt, he created blood evidence that very well may lead to a conviction in this case,” Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said in a statement about the boy’s heroic act. “This is very tough kid who kept his wits about him. At the same time, I want to reflect that this youngster, his family, and indeed this community, are very lucky this event did not have a tragic ending for the child.”
Hall later arrived at the UNC-Hillsborough Hospital with a laceration to the back of the head. Deputies were notified, but were unable to take Hall into custody because he was only considered a suspect at the time, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.
A warrant for his arrest was obtained later that afternoon for breaking and entering, second-degree kidnapping, interfering with emergency communications and assault on a child under 12. The hospital police were asked to call the sheriff’s office before discharging Hall, but his condition worsened and he was transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill Hospital.
Hall later left the hospital around 8 p.m. that night against medical advice—going on the run for more than a day before he was found at his mother’s apartment in Burlington and was taken into custody, authorities said.
Hall was seen on video surveillance cameras at the hospital leaving in his hospital gown and carrying what appeared to be a cup of water.
He had reportedly told a nurse before leaving that he had to go because “the police were going to be looking for him,” authorities said.
Officials from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said hospital police were not aware that Hall had left the hospital until the following morning, when a deputy called to check in on Hall.
“Our agency is very concerned about the events in this case,” Chief Deputy Jamison Sykes said in the statement. “Effective immediately, we will institute policy changes necessary to protect the public in situations like this. We expected to be notified prior to Hall’s discharge. When Hall left the hospital Friday evening against medical advice, we certainly should have been notified. But most concerning of all is that hospital police did not even know Hall had left the premises almost ten hours prior.”
Authorities were able to track Hall to his mother’s apartment Sunday afternoon after getting a tip that he may be staying there.
He is currently being held on a $100,000 secure bond at the Orange County Detention Center.
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