(CNN) — Hours after a North Carolina boy thwarted a home invasion with a machete to the back of an intruder’s head, the 19-year-old suspect walked out of a hospital and got away, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.
Jataveon Dashawn Hall, who had an arrest warrant in connection with the home invasion, left the UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill on Friday night against medical advice, according to a Facebook post from the sheriff’s office. He had told a nurse that he needed to leave because police were going to be looking for him.
After being transferred to the hospital in Chapel Hill from the UNC Hospital Hillsborough Campus hours earlier because of a head wound, Hall 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.
“When Hall left the hospital Friday evening against medical advice, we certainly should have been notified,” Orange County Chief Deputy Jamison Sykes said in a statement. “But most concerning of all is that hospital police did not even know Hall had left the premises almost 10 hours prior. Indeed, Hall’s absence was only discovered when we placed a phone call to them.”
UNC Health Care said that 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.
On Friday night, however, the hospital said its staff was extremely busy taking care of multiple traumas simultaneously.
“We believe this situation highlights the issue that 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,” the hospital added.
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.
Home invasion foiled by a ‘tough kid’
The 11-year-old boy — a baseball player — was home alone Friday morning in Mebane, northwest of Chapel Hill, when the intruders arrived, according to the sheriff’s office, CNN affiliate WRAL reported.
While a woman knocked on the front door of the boy’s house a man was breaking in through a window, the sheriff’s office said. The boy told authorities another man waited by a car outside the house.
The man who entered through the window grabbed a pellet gun in the home and forced the boy into a bedroom closet, the sheriff’s office said.
The child, described by the sheriff’s office as “a star baseball player,” left the closet, grabbed a machete and struck a blow to the intruder’s head, the station reported.
“This is very tough kid who kept his wits about him,” Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said in an earlier statement.
“At the same time, I want to reflect that this youngster, his family and indeed this community, are very lucky this event did not have a tragic ending for the child.”
After being wounded, the intruder kicked the boy in the stomach and the side of the head before grabbing a PlayStation and a television, CNN affiliate WTVD reported.
But bleeding heavily, the man dropped the home electronics and fled with the other suspects, according to the sheriff’s office.
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.
He was facing charges that include breaking and entering, second-degree kidnapping and assault on a child younger than 12 when he left the hospital, according to authorities.
“Not only did this youngster thwart the larceny attempt, he created blood evidence that very well may lead to a conviction in this case,” Blackwood said.
“That is amazing,” neighbor Judy Jackson said of the boy’s heroics, CNN affiliate WNCN reported.
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