Community mourns for family of Detroit girl killed by dogs

Emma Hernandez killed in vicious dog attack

DETROIT – A devastated Detroit community will come together Wednesday to remember Emma Hernandez, a 9-year-old girl who was killed by three dogs.

NEW: The owner of the dogs is charged with murder

Police said she was riding her bicycle Monday in the area of Central Avenue and Smart Street in Southwest Detroit when three pit bulls escaped from a neighbor's yard, police said.

A vigil will be held Wednesday at 4 p.m. at St. Hedwig Park.

"This is her neighborhood. She should be able to be free and do what every kid does," her aunt said. "They shouldn't be afraid to be in their own neighborhood."

Derrick Lackey lives next door to the home where the dogs were kept. He said he also had fears regarding the dogs.

Hernandez's father had recently requested that the dog's owner keep them secured better but, unfortunately, that didn't happen.

Lackey said the dog's owner was visibly shaken by the attack.

"He was terrified," Lacky said. "He had his head down. He was crying like he made a big mistake."

That mistake landed him behind bars. He is expected to be arraigned Wednesday.

"This should not have happened," said Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

The community wants the family to know it's behind them and that the family ise loved.  

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the family. Detroit businessman Bill Pullte said he would pay for the funeral himself. 

"That's love," Lackey said. "Especially over a 9-year-old child. You have to have some sympathy in your heart."

Animal Control officials said they intend to euthanize the dogs.

You can donate to the GoFundMe here.