11-year-old boy stops thief with ma­chete

Lodi News-Sentinel - - LOCAL/WORLD - By Vir­ginia Bridges

MEBANE, N.C. — Bray­don Smith had a $30 gift card to spend as he was walk­ing down an aisle at Academy Sports + Out­doors and saw an ax and a ma­chete.

The 11-year-old de­cided he could use them to help cut down trees and branches for camp­fires. His dad put up the ex­tra $15 to make the pur­chase pos­si­ble.

“Me and my Dad go camp­ing a de­cent amount,” Bray­don said.

Bray­don used the tools in the back­yard of his gray mo­bile home that sits amid wind­ing ru­ral roads, open pas­tures and plenty of woods to ex­plore. The blade on the ma­chete rusted a lit­tle and red tape held the han­dle on.

Bray­don hadn’t taken the tools camp­ing yet, but the 70-pound six­th­grader with freck­les on his nose and cheeks used the ma­chete last week when an in­truder broke into his home and tried to steal his PlayS­ta­tion.

The tools were propped against Bray­don’s bed­room wall, near his bunk bed, base­ball tro­phies and Poke­mon cards. Bray­don has been play­ing base­ball since he was big enough to swing a bat. In a cabi­net un­der his bed, he keeps a box with his 11 cham­pi­onship rings from area re­cre­ational and travel leagues.

He also likes play­ing video games and with his dogs, box­ers named Dixon and Zena.

Around 11 a.m. Fri­day, Bray­don was play­ing Grand Theft Auto on his PlayS­ta­tion when he heard some­one out­side. He ran to his bed­room in the 900-square-foot home and looked out the win­dow.

A woman was knock­ing on the door, and two men were stand­ing near a cham­pagne-col­ored car.

Bray­don was on the phone with his mom. He asked her to call the po­lice be­fore he put the phone down in the liv­ing room and stepped be­hind the door in his bed­room.

Through his win­dow, he saw one of the men walk to­ward the other side of the home and heard a win­dow “get slammed in.”

“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.

A young man, whom po­lice later iden­ti­fied as Jataveon De­shawn Hall, 19, slowly walked through the home. He grabbed a pel­let ri­fle, which Bray­don knew was not loaded.

When he came to Bray­don’s room, the man peeked through door with the ri­fle.

“He grabbed my ma­chete and told me to sit on the ground and get in the closet,” Bray­don said.

Bray­don obeyed, un­til the man turned his back as he walked into the liv­ing room and started to pocket Bray­don’s cell phone.

Bray­don picked up the ma­chete the man had dropped on the floor and swung it at him, strik­ing him in the back of the neck.

The man kicked Bray­don a few times and pushed him down, he said.

Bray­don swung the ma­chete again but missed.

The man tried to grab the PlayS­ta­tion and tele­vi­sion.

“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.”

Bray­don’s mother, who lives out of state, called his aunt, who called 911.

“You hit them in the back of the head with a ma­chete?” the 911 op­er­a­tor asked af­ter Bray­don told the story.

“Did you see if he was bleed­ing at all?” the op­er­a­tor said.

“Yes,” Bray­don said. “There is blood on my floor.”

Hall showed up later at UNC Hos­pi­tals in Hills­bor­ough but was trans­ferred to the Chapel Hill hospi­tal, which he left around 8 p.m. Fri­day against med­i­cal ad­vice and with­out the Sher­iff’s Of­fice be­ing alerted, The News & Ob­server re­ported.

Hall was ar­rested Sun­day in Burling­ton on charges of break­ing and en­ter­ing, sec­ond-de­gree kid­nap­ping, in­ter­fer­ing with emer­gency com­mu­ni­ca­tions and as­sault on a child un­der 12. He is be­ing held on $175,000 bail. No other ar­rest have been made. Bray­don wor­ried that Hall or the oth­ers might come back. His Dad slept on the couch for a few days with a pis­tol nearby.

Hall “should have got a job be­fore he broke into peo­ple’s houses,” Bray­don said.

Christo­pher Smith, 30, who works for a small elec­tri­cal com­pany, was min­utes from his home when he learned about the break in.

It was rare for Bray­don to be home alone, Smith said, but he thought his son’s camp started Thurs­day in­stead of the fol­low­ing Mon­day.

Bray­don said he wanted to stay home and play video games.

“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.”

Ques­tions like what if the man had a gun “play in my mind over and over,” Smith said.

“It was all a higher power than us,” he said.

Smith told Bray­don if some­one breaks in with a gun, let them take ev­ery­thing.

“You do what they say,” Smith said. “He agreed.”


Bray­don Smith, 11, poses for a por­trait in his room on Mon­day. He was home alone on Fri­day when an at­tempted rob­bery oc­curred in the house where he lives with his fa­ther. He chased the sus­pect off with a ma­chete.

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