Neighbor: 'You could hear the screaming' in deadly mauling of girl by pit bulls

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A little girl was killed walking in an alley behind her house Monday afternoon by three dogs, whose owner is now in police custody.

The pit bulls that attacked that 9-year-old girl are also now in the possession of Detroit Animal Care and Control. 

"I came out of the house and you could hear the screaming, people screaming 'Oh my God, oh my God,'" said Deborah Golden, a neighbor. "You could tell something immediately was bad."

It happened in southwest Detroit Monday afternoon. The girl was in the 6000 block of Central right behind her house when police say three pit bulls got out of their yard and attacked her.

"I went outside and saw three dogs nearly attacking a little girl. I grabbed a brick, threw it at them, they all ran out, I don't know where they all went. So I stayed with the girl to makes sure she was okay and yelled out for help," said Edward Cruz, another neighbor.

"She had bite marks in areas of her body," Golden said. "It wasn't good."

Golden helped the girl's father and brother perform CPR. Paramedics rushed the girl to Detroit Children's Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Family has since identified the girl to us as Emma Hernandez. 

"A 9-year-old girl just playing in the alley and the next thing you know, she is not here," said Capt. Russell Solano with the Detroit Police Department. "I can't imagine. You think about your own children. It is tough."

It's not the first time a child has been killed by dogs in Detroit.

In 2015 pit bull mixes fatally mauled a 4-year-old boy on Detroit's west side. The dogs' owner was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to probation.

Police say a man shot one of the dogs after Monday's fatal attack. Officials with Animal Care and Control took few hours to find the two remaining pit bulls, but all three are now accounted for.

The owner was taken into custody and is expected to face charges.

"This is an ongoing problem with dogs in the neighborhood," said Golden. "There is two dogs that were always roaming loose on Kirkwood here, and one of them attacked me, and a number of other people."

If you'd like to make a donation to the family to help pay for her funeral, you can do so via a GoFundMe account online here