A fox is being tested for rabies after biting a second-grade boy on the playground Monday morning, then attacking the teacher and school psychologist who rushed to his aid outside Broad Brook Elementary School in East Windsor, Connecticut.
The fox, which authorities shot and killed, is also believed to have bitten a woman at a home behind the school earlier in the morning.
All four victims, including second-grade student Evan Witzke, have been hospitalized. The adults were brought to Hartford Hospital, where they will likely undergo rabies treatment, hospital officials said.
Evan was taken to Connecticut Children's Medical Center, according to his mother, who said he is doing well.
"I'm feeling really good because I took medicine and I got shots," Evan said after the attack. He was in high spirits Monday night after leaving the hospital.
But earlier today he was scared. Police said the fox emerged from the woods on the north side of the school around 11:30 a.m. and attacked Evan while he was playing outside.
"I didn't see it come out of the woods. It just came and it bit my ankle, and then it tackled me and then I think it went for my wrist," Evan recalled. "My teacher got it off me and then I got up and ran away."
"[The fox] went for his ankle, he fell, tackled him and went for his wrist, and that's when the gym teacher – she was hitting the panic button on the walkie talkie, and then went after the fox, grabbed the fox by the neck and held it down," explained Evan's father, Craig Witzke.
The gym teacher and a school psychologist were also bitten before trapping the fox under a plastic recycling container and holding it until police arrived.
"[She] grabbed the fox by the neck so that all the children could get away," said Det. Matthew Carl of the East Windsor Police Department. "She held the fox on the ground while it was biting and scratching her."
Now the teacher and psychologist are being hailed as heroes.
"She was being attacked as she was trying to get the fox off my son, and I'm very grateful to her and what they did to keep the other kids safe," Witzke said, adding that the teacher went "above and beyond" to protect the children.
"I thanked them because they saved me from getting more attacked," Evan said.
Police believe the same fox also bit a woman and her dog earlier this morning at her parents' house on Mill Street/Route 191, less than a mile from the school. According to police, the animal wandered onto the porch around 10 a.m. and attacked the victim, who is in her 30s, when she opened the door.
"The family dog had wrestled with the fox, and the fox had fled into the woods, so we weren't able to locate it," Carl said.
East Windsor police and Animal Control responded to both scenes. Police believe that the same fox was involved in both incidents, and said the animal was aggressive toward officers who arrived to capture it.
"It charged one of the police officers, and ultimately, we shot and killed it," Carl said.
The fox was taken to the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health Laboratory to be tested for rabies.
East Windsor police caution residents against approach animals "acting strange or appearing sick" and advise people to instead call the police department at 860-292-8240.