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.
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.
Police said the fox emerged from the woods on the northern side of the elementary school around 11:30 a.m. Monday and attacked Evan while he was playing outside.
"A P.E. teacher at the elementary school grabbed the fox off the child and pinned it to the ground," said Det. Matthew Carl of the East Windsor Police Department, adding that the teacher was bitten in the process.
Carl said a school psychologist was also attacked before staff members were able to trap the fox under a plastic recycling container.
Now the teacher and psychologist are being hailed as heroes.
"[The gym teacher] grabbed the fox by the neck so that all the children could get away," Carl explained. "She held the fox on the ground while it was biting and scratching her."
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.
Police said the fox wandered onto the porch around 10 a.m., and the victim, who is in her 30s, was attacked 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.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut
Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Ninita Witzke