Jataveon Dashawn Hall, 19, got more than he bargained for when he broke into a Mebane, North Carolina home and was smacked on the head by a little boy brandishing a machete. Like a scene out of the film Home Alone, 11-year-old Braydon Smith left Hall with serious injuries that required hospitalization, allowing police to eventually catch the intruder.
“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 explained in a public statement.
“I wasn’t really scared. I just knew that I had to do something because there was somebody that I didn’t know in my house,” Braydon said.
During one interview, Braydon offered Hall some words of wisdom. “He should have just gotten a job instead of breaking into other people’s houses.”
Here’s what you need to know about Jataveon Hall and his unexpected encounter with Braydon Smith.
1. Hall Broke in with the Help of Two Other Suspects
On Friday, June 14, Braydon was at home in his room playing video games when the attempted robbery occurred. Braydon, who explained that the family home had been broken into once before, called his mom Kaitlin Johnson when he saw a car with one woman and two men pull up in the driveway. Johnson said she was initially unconcerned.
The woman and one man got out of the car and the woman started ringing the doorbell. Braydon closed his bedroom door and waited for the three strangers to leave. He then heard the woman call out “No one is home.”
Braydon grabbed a machete he had hanging in his room and kept it nearby in case there was trouble.
Suddenly he heard Hall smash the living room window and slowly walk through the house. Johnson, who was still on the line with Braydon, called her aunt who in turn called 911. “It was horrifying. There’s no other way to put it. I didn’t know that he would be OK,” Johnson told WTVD.
2. Hall Held Braydon at Gunpoint
Hall began snooping around the house and eventually discovered the little boy. He briefly left Braydon’s bedroom and returned with a pellet gun he’d spotted in the living room.
The thief pointed the gun at Braydon and told him to get into the closet and sit down. “I knew it wasn’t loaded so I just sat down and got in my closet like he told me to,” Braydon recalled. Hall grabbed Braydon’s cell phone to prevent him from calling for help, then returned to the living room to start searching for valuables and electronics to steal. That’s when Braydon made his daring move.
“When he went into the living room and turned his back to me I grabbed my machete and ran into the living room and hit him,” Braydon said.
Hall responded by kicking Braydon in the stomach several times. Braydon attempted to hit Hall a with the machete a second time but missed. He then tried to grab the family’s PlayStation and television. “He noticed that he was bleeding in the back of the head really badly so he just dropped everything and ran out of the door.”
3. Hall Was Seriously Injured and Required Hospitalization
According to a statement released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Hall Went to the UNC-Hillsborough Hospital around 1 p.m. to seek medical treatment for his injury. Deputies had been notified of the incident and there was a sheriff’s deputy at the hospital. The statement added that at this point, “Hall was only a suspect and there was no legal authority to hold him in custody.”
After investigating the break-in, the sheriff’s office started working to obtain a warrant for Hall’s arrest. “Investigator J. Nazworth went to the magistrate that afternoon. The magistrate then issued warrants for Breaking and Entering, Second Degree Kidnapping, Interfering with Emergency Communications, and Assault on a Child under 12.
Once the warrant was obtained, the hospital’s police were notified to call the sheriff’s office when Hall was ready to be discharged so that he could be taken into custody, brought before the magistrate and have a bond hearing.
4. Hall Escaped after He Was Transferred to a Different Hospital
Hall’s condition soon worsened and the hospital decided to transfer him to UNC-Chapel Hill for more extensive treatment. Communication broke down with staff at the second hospital. When the sheriff’s office called UNC-Chapel Hill early Saturday morning, they were told that Hall had checked himself out at 8:23 p.m. Friday night against medical advice.
“Hall had told the nurse he needed to leave because the police were going to be looking for him. In the phone call, it was apparent that hospital police were not aware Hall had left the hospital almost ten hours earlier until Sergeant Jones called to check on him,” the sheriff’s office statement read.
Hall’s escape left the hospital and sheriff’s office at odds with each other over who should have been responsible for monitoring the robbery suspect. The hospital maintained that they had multiple medical emergencies to handle that evening and that it’s not their responsibility to monitor or detain suspects.
Once the sheriff’s office realized what had happened, they began an immediate search for Hall and asked for the public’s help. Hall, who had a previous criminal record, was described as standing six feet tall and weighing 135 pounds. His head was wrapped in a bandage when he was last seen walking out of the hospital wearing a hospital gown and carrying a cup.
Many members of the community were angered by Hall’s escape, including Braydon’s mom. Johnson told WTVD-TV that the situation was “infuriating.”
“Emergency department nurses and physicians cannot be both caregivers and law enforcement at the same time,” the hospital said in a statement.
“Obviously, there was a breakdown somewhere,” Orange County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Alicia Stemper told WTVD. “I don’t think assigning any blame is going to help anybody. What’s more important is that we find out where the breakdown was and work together with the hospital.”
The sheriff’s office said they will be sitting down with hospital officials to discusses ways to prevent similar incidents from happening again.
5. Police Apprehended Hall at His Mother’s Apartment
Thanks to an anonymous tip, police were able to locate and arrest Hall on June 16. Hall was apprehended around 1 p.m. at his mother’s apartment in the 1300 block of Beaumont Ct. in Burlington.
Hall had his first court appearance on June 17. After the district attorney pointed out that Hall had fled the hospital, his bail raised from $100,000 to $175,000. Hall is being housed at the Orange County Detention Center.
The two other suspects remain at large.