(Reuters) - North Carolina police arrested a suspected burglar on Sunday who was fought off by an 11-year-old boy with a machete and sought treatment at a hospital for a head wound, but managed to flee before police could arrest him.
Jataveon Dashawn Hall, 19, is accused of breaking into a home in Hillsborough on Friday and forcing the boy into a closet while he gathered the family’s electronics, according to a statement by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
After the boy hit Hall in the head with a machete, Hall sought treatment at the UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, where workers who had been asked to look out for a man with a head wound notified sheriff’s deputies, including an officer who was eating lunch at the center.
The sheriff’s office said its officers, who did not have the required warrants to arrest Hall at that point, discovered Hall was missing from the hospital on Saturday morning.
He was seen on surveillance video leaving dressed in a hospital gown and blue socks, with his head bandaged, the sheriff’s office said.
“When Hall left the hospital Friday evening against medical advice, we certainly should have been notified,” the statement said. “But most concerning of all is that hospital police did not even know Hall had left the premises almost ten hours prior.”
UNC Health Care, which runs the hospital, released a statement saying they “did not intend to debate this issue” with the sheriff’s staff.
“However, we believe this situation highlights the issue that emergency department nurses and physicians cannot be both caregivers and law enforcement at the same time,” it said.
Police finally detained Hall on Sunday after receiving a tip that he was at his mother’s apartment in the nearby city of Burlington.
Hall was wanted on charges of breaking and entering, kidnapping and assaulting a child and is due to make his first court appearance in Hillsborough on Monday.
Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Sonya Hepinstall