Braydon Smith had been playing Grand Theft Auto on a quiet day home alone, when he heard a knock at his door.
The 11-year-old quickly ran to his bedroom window of his North Carolina home and saw a woman knocking on the door and two men lurking nearby.
Smith quickly surveyed his bedroom and saw the machete he had recently purchased to help him cut down trees and branches for campfires against his bedroom wall and grabbed the weapon.
He also called his mom, who lived out of state to ask her to call police, as one of the men was breaking through one of the home’s windows, he’d later tell The News & Observer.
“My heart was beating, but I knew that I had to do something, like hit him with something, so I just grabbed a weapon that was nearby,” he said.
But after the man, later identified by police as Jataveon Deshawn Hall, 19, gained access to the home, he “peeked” through the door and discovered Braydon hiding in his room and took the machete away from him, ordering the 11-year-old to get into his closet before setting the machete down.
Hall grabbed a pellet gun from the living room, but Braydon knew it wasn’t loaded. And as he tried to pocket Braydon’s cell phone, the 11-year-old decided to strike back.
“I did get into the closet, but when he went into the living room and turned his back on me, I grabbed my machete and ran into the living room and hit him,” Smith said.
Braydon, a star baseball player struck Hall in the back of the head, sparking a scuffle between the pair. Braydon said the would-be robber kicked him and shoved him down, while Braydon tried to strike another blow with the machete, but missed.
Hall tried in a last-ditch attempt to grab the family’s PlayStation and television—before noticing his wound was too severe.
“He noticed that he was bleeding in the back of the head really badly,” Braydon said. “So he just dropped everything and ran out of the door.”
Hall was later apprehended after he showed up on Friday, the same day of the attempted robbery, at a local hospital to be treated for the wound. Although he left the hospital against medical advice—authorities would later track him down on Sunday in Burlington and arrest him for breaking and entering, second-degree kidnapping, interfering with emergency communications and assault on a child under the age of 12.
Braydon was initially scared that Hall or the others might return to the home—but his dad kept watch sleeping on the couch with a pistol nearby.
The boy’s father, Christopher Smith, 30, said it’s unusual that his son is home alone. But after mistakenly thinking his son’s summer camp started on Thursday rather than the following Monday, he agreed to let the 11-year-old stay on his own.
“I trust him,” Smith said. “I felt like he could feed himself. And, of course, not burn the house down. And he could defend himself.”
Christopher Smith believes a “higher power than us” was at play Friday when his son managed to survive the break-in attempt without getting injured.
It was the second time the home has been robbed. The family wasn't home when the break-in occurred.
Smith told WTVD he had taught his son about self-defense after the initial break-in several years ago.
“If they come in the door, you let ‘em have it,” he said.
Braydon said he wasn’t scared when confronting hall and just knew he had to protect his home.
“I have to protect the house, because I knew if I didn’t protect the house, he would probably take everything,” he told WGHP. “I just really don’t think you should break into other people’s houses. I mean, you can earn money by getting a job.”
Hall is being held on $175,000 bond.
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