An 11-year-old boy, who was home alone when three people broke into his family’s North Carolina residence, turned the tables on the alleged criminals when he grabbed a machete and whacked one of them in the head, officials said.
Braydon Smith said he knew he didn’t have time to think or be afraid.
“I grabbed my machete off my wall and went to hit him,” he said in an exclusive interview with ABC station WTVD in Durham, North Carolina. “I knew I had to act in the heat of the moment.”
But now the boy’s family is demanding answers from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office about how the alleged home invader slipped out of their grasp when he walked away from a hospital after being treated for injuries caused in the confrontation with Braydon, whom authorities described as a local youth baseball star and a “very tough kid.”
“It was infuriating,” Braydon’s mother, Kaitlin Johnson, told WTVD. “This guy could have killed my child.”
The suspect, Jataveon Dashawn Hall, 19, was arrested just after 1 p.m. on Sunday in Burlington, North Carolina, more than 40 hours after he was spotted on surveillance video walking out of the University of North Carolina Medical Center in Chapel Hill with his head heavily bandaged and wearing a hospital gown, authorities said.
The terrifying ordeal occurred Friday around 11 a.m. local time, when Braydon was alone in his home in Mebane, North Carolina, about 20 miles northwest of Chapel Hill.
Johnson, who lives in another state, was on the phone with her son when someone knocked on the front door of the Mebane house. Johnson told WTVD that she heard one of the intruders say the house was empty.
Sheriff’s officials said that when the alleged robbers entered the house they discovered Braydon alone. Hall allegedly picked up a pellet gun he found in the house, took Braydon’s phone and forced the boy into a bedroom closet before he and his accomplices allegedly proceeded to ransack the residence, according to a statement released by the sheriff’s office.
“The juvenile, who is a star baseball player on several area teams, left the closet and was able to gain access to a machete. He entered the living room behind the intruder, swung the machete, and struck the man in the back of the head,” the statement reads.
Braydon told WTVD he knew the pellet gun Hall took wasn’t loaded, and so he did what his father had taught him to do if an intruder ever broke into their home: “If they come in the door, you let them have it.”
Hall responded by kicking the boy in the stomach and knocking him against a couch, authorities said. But Braydon quickly scrambled to his feet and charged after Hall again, swinging the machete but missing.
“The intruder then kicked the child in the side of the head and turned to grab several items, including a television and a PlayStation. At this point, the intruder realized he was bleeding significantly from the machete strike. He dropped the electronics, exited the residence and all three suspects fled the home,” according to the sheriff’s office.