ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A 6-year-old New Jersey boy was walking to school when he was viciously attacked by a raccoon Wednesday morning.
Aryan Gavali, 6, was walking with his mother to the Sixteenth Avenue Elementary School in Elmwood Park when a large raccoon came running across the street, jumped on his back and began biting and scratching at his face, CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reported.
A good Samaritan heard the screaming and quickly sprang into action.
“I see this huge raccoon on top of the kid,” the good Samaritan, Danny Walls, told CBS2. “The raccoon was on the kid’s face biting and scratching…when I got in the car I cried, because the first thing I thought about was my own son.”
Police said the man grabbed an extension pole from his car and beat the raccoon to death.
“I killed the raccoon, the kid jumped up and was screaming, he was crying, there was blood all over the place, his mom had blood all over her coat,” Walls said.
Walls said Gavali’s mother seemed grateful that he stepped in to help.
“When she was done she just kinda got on the floor just thanked me so much,” Walls said. “But I really wish the best for them.
Gavali’s mother Monali has been at the injured boy’s bedside at Hackensack University Medical Center ever since the bizarre attack.
She told CBS2’s Dave Carlin via video chat that her son is doing well.
Gavali wants people to see the bravery of her son, just hours after surgery that put nine stitches in his face.
“I initially thought it’s a monkey, but later on I noticed it was something else,” she said.
The animal was clawing and biting the one place where her son had exposed skin.
“It’s cold outside and he was covered with a jacket. Only his face was open,” she said.
Monali said without Walls’ help the boy’s injuries would be worse.
“He came like an angel to help us. I’m very, very much thankful to him,” she said.
Elmwood Park Police Chief Michael Foligno described Walls’ quick reaction.
“He started to strike the raccoon until it let go of the boy’s face, it fell to the ground, he continued to beat it and ended up killing the raccoon,” Foligno told 1010 WINS.
Gavali suffered deep cuts on his face, especially under his right eye.
Wildlife experts want everyone to be on the lookout for racoon rabies warning sings. Nocturnal animals should not be active in the daylight, and people should beware if a raccoon is aggressive, disoriented, and is foaming at the mouth.
The lifeless raccoon was taken to a lab to be tested for rabies. Results are due back on Friday.