Neighbors and loved ones mourn 9-year-old girl killed by dogs

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The 33-year-old owner of three dogs that police say viciously mauled a young girl to death Monday afternoon in southwest Detroit could soon be facing charges. 

He's still in police custody at this time, and we're told a warrant request will be submitted soon to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office. Authorities didn't elaborate yet on what charges he could be facing. 

"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."

She was one of the many neighbors who did everything she could to try and save the life of 9-year-old Emma Hernandez, who was mauled to death Monday afternoon around 4 p.m. by multiple dogs. 

A memorial is growing outside of Emma's home in southwest Detroit. The girl was riding her bike behind her house near the 6000 block of Central when, out of nowhere, what police describe as three pit bulls knocked her over and attacked. 

"I ran towards them and grab a brick, threw it at them and they all ran out. I don't know where they went, so I decided to stay with the girl to make sure that she's okay. I yelled out for help," another neighbor Edward Crus told us. 

While he tried to comfort the badly bitten 9-year-old, others called 911. 

When emergency crews arrived, they found her father, brother, and Deborah huddled around little Emma, who usually is full of energy and life, frantically trying to revive her. 

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

Neighbor: 'You could hear the screaming' in deadly mauling of girl by pit bulls
9-year-old dies after mauling by 3 dogs on Detroit's west side

We're told first responders, some of whom underwent trauma counseling as a result of this, continued to perform CPR while there was gunfire all around them. It was coming from neighbors who were able to shoot one of the dogs. The other two were eventually seized by animal control officers. 

Detroit Animal Care and Control says they have all three dogs in their possession, and it's likely they'll be euthanized. 

"The entire team at Detroit Animal Care and Control is devastated by this tragedy and our hearts and prayers go out to the family of this child. All three dogs are in our possession and will be evaluated; our first priority is to ensure the health and safety of Detroit residents. Due to the severity of this case, it is very likely that the dogs will be euthanized," the department said in a statement. 

Meanwhile, it is safe to say many around here will never be the same. These candles and stuffed animals being left outside of Emma's home are just a sign of their heartbreak. 

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

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