IT WAS ONE of those innocent moments of childhood.
Ten-year-old Tyler Medina was bouncing on his beloved pogo stick near his grandfather's house on Lindley Avenue near 5th Street, Olney, Tuesday evening.
From a nearby van, his aunt, Olga Rodriguez, saw his face beam as he jumped up and down.
Tyler bellowed with excitement that he could bounce so many times without falling off.
Then, out of nowhere, terror came to Lindley Avenue.
It was about 6:30 when a tall, menacing man appeared out of nowhere and approached Tyler, Rodriguez said.
"First, the man tried to push him off the pogo stick and then he put his arm around Tyler's neck," Rodriguez said yesterday.
"Once he grabbed for Tyler's neck, I just sprung out of my car," she said. As she watched in shock, the man pulled a knife out and sliced her nephew's throat.
"I was stunned. I couldn't believe what I had just seen," she said.
Rodriguez said that she grabbed the attacker by the hood of his sweatshirt and that he didn't try to run. Tyler, who somehow remained on his feet, pressed his palm against his neck to try to stop the blood.
He limped over to the driveway of his grandfather's house to cry for help, Rodriguez said.
"As soon as it happened, I just grabbed him," Rodriguez said. "Then my dad, my brother, everyone came over and we just held him down until the police got there."
Cops took the man into custody. He didn't explain why he attacked Tyler, who lives on Bleigh Street with his family.
Rodriguez said her quick-thinking nephew knew he had to put pressure on his wound to control the bleeding. But to see him so distraught and hurt forced her to remain calm, focused and in control.
She waited with Tyler on the sidewalk until paramedics arrived. "He was talking to me and breathing the entire time," she said.
He begged for life.
"I couldn't panic because when you have a 10-year-old boy telling you, 'Please don't let me die, Please don't let me die,' you have to stay calm no matter what," she said, her voice trembling.
Tyler was taken to Albert Einstein Medical Center and later transferred to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.
Doctors told Rodriguez that her nephew had a six-inch gash to the right side of his neck.
Police identified the knife-wielder yesterday as Tim Pratt, 25, of Mole Street near Courtland, Logan.
Police also recovered the knife used in the attack.
Tyler is a sixth-grader at Incarnation of Our Lord Parochial School, across the street from where he was attacked.
The school's principal declined to comment.
Pratt is being held on charges of attempted murder, aggravated and simple assault, and related offenses, police said.
Investigators yesterday were still trying to determine what led Pratt to hurt the young boy.
Roxanna Murillo, a family friend, said yesterday she still couldn't believe it.
"I was here yesterday and when I heard Tyler yelling, I thought he was just carrying on, but then I came outside and saw the commotion," Murillo said.
"It's terrible. He's just the sweetest boy," she said.
The throat-slashing didn't just traumatize Tyler, Rodriguez said. It stole an innocence from Lindley Avenue.
"We are supposed to let our children play outside, you know? That's a normal, healthy thing for a 10-year-old kid to be doing," she said. "And now he can't do that.
"It's an awful shame that our city has come to this because he won't be able to play outside now," she said.
Tyler was in stable condition at St. Christopher's Hospital last night. His relatives and friends huddled around his bedside yesterday.
He is expected to recover, Rodriguez said.
Tyler remembers the attack, she said, but he's not ready to talk about it. *