Suspected intruder hit in head with machete makes first court appearance

An 11-year-old boy defended his home, say police

By Amir Vera, CNN
Orange County Sheriff's Office

Jataveon Dashawn Hall

(CNN) - The last 72 hours have not gone according to plan for Jataveon Dashawn Hall.

The 19-year-old is due in court Monday after a weekend during which, according to police, he broke into a home, was whacked in the back of the head by a machete-wielding 11-year-old boy, left a hospital wearing only gown and was arrested at his mother's apartment.

Hall is facing charges of breaking and entering, second-degree kidnapping, interfering with emergency communications and assault on a child under 12, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office in North Carolina.

 

Boy knew he 'had to act in the heat of the moment'

 

Hall's eventful weekend began Friday morning, when he, a man and a woman attempted to break into a home in Mebane, North Carolina, northwest of Chapel Hill, according to authorities.

An 11-year-old boy, Braydon Smith, was home alone when the intruders arrived, his mother Kaitlin Johnson told CNN. Johnson said she was on the phone with her son as the intruders broke into the home.

A man entered through a window, the sheriff's office said, and grabbed a pellet gun in the home forcing Braydon into a closet.

"I knew that it wasn't loaded so I just sat down and got in my closet like he told me to," Braydon told CNN affiliate WTVD-TV.

Braydon told the affiliate the man then went into the living room to grab his phone to make sure Braydon didn't call the police.

"When I saw him trying to put it in his pocket, I grabbed my machete off of my wall and went to hit him," he said. "I knew I had to act in the heat of the moment."

Braydon -- a baseball player -- usually uses the machete to chop down trees, WTVD reported. After their home was ransacked by thieves a few years ago, Braydon's father, Christopher Smith, trained the boy on how to use the large knife in self defense.

"It went by really fast, and I knew that I didn't have anytime to think about what I was gonna do, so I just grabbed the weapon that was in the house and just acted with it," Braydon told WTVD.

After being wounded, WTVD reported, the intruder kicked Braydon in the stomach and the side of the head before grabbing a PlayStation and a television.

But bleeding heavily, the man dropped the home electronics and fled with the other suspects, according to the sheriff's office.

 

Suspect slipped out of the hospital

 

Deputies provided area hospitals with a description of the suspect and his injuries, the affiliates reported.

Hall, who is from Monroe, south of Charlotte, was connected to the case when he arrived at a hospital with a head injury, the sheriff's office said.

Before he could be taken into custody, Hall was transferred to UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill from the school's Hillsborough campus hospital because of the severity of his head wound, an Orange County spokesperson told CNN affiliate WRAL.

Hall told a nurse he needed to leave because the police were looking for him and he slipped out of the hospital in a gown, holding what appeared to be a cup of water, the sheriff's office said.

County and state law enforcement and US Marshals were looking for him.

The ease with which Hall was able to evade authorities caused friction between the medical and law enforcement staff.

For about 10 hours, hospital staff didn't know that Hall had left, according to Orange County Chief Deputy Jamison Sykes.

"Hall's absence was only discovered when we placed a phone call to them," Sykes said in a statement.

Sykes said deputies should have been notified by the hospital.

UNC Health Care said it always intends to work closely with law enforcement, and that in such cases hospital staff will often alert authorities when a suspect is discharged. However, on Friday, the hospital staff was extremely busy with multiple traumas.

"Emergency-department nurses and physicians cannot be both caregivers and law enforcement at the same time," the hospital said in a statement to CNN. "Our nurses and physicians focus 100 percent of their time on providing care to patients -- that is their job."

UNC Health Care said in an earlier statement that the suspect was in the legal custody of the Orange County Sheriff's Department, "which did not place an officer with him."

"It is the responsibility of law enforcement to closely monitor the status of suspects in their custody while those patients are receiving medical treatment," the statement said.

CNN affiliate WNCN-TV says the other suspects in the robbery attempt, a man and woman, are still at large.

CNN's Ray Sanchez contributed to this report.

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