ELMWOOD PARK - Police say a raccoon jumped on an Elmwood Park 6-year-old and attacked him before a bystander intervened and beat the animal to death.

The incident happened as the boy walked to school with his mother.

A witness told officers that the animal ran across the street, jumped on the boy's back and crawled onto his face Wednesday morning.

Danny Walls, who lives nearby, saw the commotion, ran over and pulled the animal off of the boy. He then says that he beat the animal to death with a stick.

Walls, who tells News 12 New Jersey that he has two sons of his own, says that he was acting on instinct.

“If I see something like that, a little boy being attacked, I wouldn’t care if it was a lion. I’d come out and at least give him hope,” Walls says.

The boy was rushed to the hospital and reportedly needed stitches, but is expected to be OK.

The little boy's sister tells News 12 New Jersey that he is recovering well.

Bergen County Animal Control will have the animal tested for rabies. The results are expected on Friday.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.