A suspected burglar who was fought off by an 11-year-old boy with a machete in the US state of North Carolina is due to appear in court.
Jataveon Dashawn Hall, 19, was arrested on Sunday two days after fleeing a hospital where he was being treated for a head injury.
He is accused of breaking into a house in the city of Mebane and forcing the child, who was alone, into a closet.
The boy escaped, grabbed a machete that was on the wall and hit the suspect.
The child – who learned self-defence with his dad after the family’s home was ransacked years ago – said he was on the phone with his mother when the suspect broke into the house through a window on Friday morning.
“He pointed a pellet gun at me that was located in our house. I knew that it wasn’t loaded so I just sat down and got in my closet like he told me to,” he told local broadcaster WTVD.
“He went into the living room to grab my phone to make sure I didn’t call the [police] or anything. When I saw him try to put it in his pocket I grabbed my machete off of my wall and went to hit him. I hit him in the back of the head.”
After being injured, the suspect kicked the boy in the stomach and in the head, and tried to steal a TV and a video game. When he realised he was bleeding, he dropped the electronics and fled with two alleged accomplices, officials said.
After interviewing the boy, local police alerted the region’s hospitals to watch for a man seeking treatment for a head injury. So when the suspect went to a hospital in the town of Hillsborough, 10 miles (16km) from Mebane, staff alerted the police.
But his wound worsened, and he was transferred to another hospital, in the town Chapel Hill, some 12 miles away.
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On Saturday morning, officers called the hospital to check on the man and found out that he had left the night before “against medical advice”, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. CCTV camera showed him wearing a gown, blue socks and carrying what appeared to be a cup of water.
Police received an anonymous tip that the man was at his mother’s apartment in Burlington, some 40 miles from Chapel Hill, and arrested him on Sunday.
He has been held at the Orange County Detention Center and charged with breaking and entering, second degree kidnapping, interfering with emergency communications and assault on a child under 12.
It was not immediately clear whether the other two suspects had been identified or caught.
The boy, who is a baseball player, bought the machete with gift cards some time ago and normally uses it to chop down trees, WTVD reported.