The mother of a 6-year-old boy in New Jersey says she's grateful that a man raced into action to kill a raccoon that was attacking the child.

A witness told officers the animal had run across the street, jumped on Aryan Gavali's back and crawled onto his face Wednesday morning while he was walking to school in Elmwood Park with his mother.

The bystander ran over and grabbed the raccoon before beating the animal to death with a stick, police Chief Michael Foligno tells The Record newspaper.

"I cried, because the first thing I thought about was my own son," the bystander, Danny Walls, told WCBS.

“He came like an angel to help us," the boy's mother, Monali, said. The child was taken to a hospital with deep cuts but was expected to recover, according to police.

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

Click for more from Fox 5.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.