2019 Man of the Year: Machete-Wielding 11-Year-Old Home Defender

Braydon Smith / WTVD video screenshot

"If they come in the door, you let 'em have it."

That's the advice Christopher Smith gave his son Braydon about self defense after a break-in a few years ago. In June, 11-year-old Braydon relied on that advice—and a machete—to save himself from another home invader.

When a 19-year-old broke into the home and pointed a pellet gun at him, Braydon waited for an opportunity to fight back. As the intruder went into the family's living room to collect a phone, the 11-year-old seized the moment to strike.

"I grabbed my machete off of my wall and went to hit him," Braydon told WTVD. "I hit him in the back of the head."

The boy's machete sent the home invader running. He was later apprehended by police after seeking medical treatment and then fleeing when news of his crime reached the hospital. He faced multiple charges related to the break-in.

Local police praised Braydon for his quick thinking.

"This is a very tough kid who kept his wits about him," Orange County sheriff Charles Blackwood said.

Braydon said he just trusted his instincts and did what he had to in order to survive.

"It went by really fast," he said. "I knew I didn't have the time to think about what I was going to do. I just grabbed a weapon in the house and acted with it."

After the ordeal, Braydon had some sage advice for the young man who tried to rob his home.

"You shouldn't have done what you've done," he said. "You're better off to get a job than breaking into other people's houses."

Published under: Men of the Year