2019-09-17 20:16:29 UTC
screaming 'Oh my God, oh my God.'"
"Those dogs escaped multiple times even a week prior to this
Neighbor: 'You could hear the screaming' in deadly mauling of girl by
Published August 20
DETROIT (FOX 2) - A little girl was killed walking in an alley behind
her house Monday afternoon by three dogs, whose owner is now in police
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
Golden helped the girl's father and brother perform CPR. Paramedics
rushed the girl to Detroit Children's Hospital, where she was
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.
Bond $2M for dog owner charged with murder in mauling
Detroit The owner of the three dogs who mauled a 9-year-old Detroit
girl to death this week was charged Thursday and given a $2 million
cash bond that his attorney called "outrageous."
Pierre Cleveland, 33, is charged with second-degree murder,
involuntary manslaughter and having dangerous animals causing death in
the Monday attack that killed Emma Hernandez.
He waived the formal reading of charges during his arraignment via
video Thursday afternoon in 36th District Court; a not-guilty plea was
entered on his behalf.
Cleveland's attorney, Emmett Greenwood, asked for a "reasonable" bond,
saying Cleveland has no criminal record and that he helped try to get
the dogs off the child when she was attacked.
Greenwood asked for a "nominal" 10% bond, but his request was rejected
by Magistrate Millicent Sherman, who cited the seriousness of the
allegations against Cleveland.
Greenwood asked that his client get a medical designation while in the
jail saying Cleveland, a machinist, lost three fingers in a workplace
accident two weeks ago.
Cleveland is in a segregated area of the Wayne County Jail, according
to a officer at the detention center. He was scheduled for a probable
cause conference at 9 a.m. Aug. 30 and a preliminary exam Sept. 6.
With his head lowered during the hearing, Cleveland said, "My
condolences to the family."
Cleveland lived across the alley from Emma and her family and owned
the three pit bulls that leaped over a flimsy fence to attack her as
she rode her bike.
Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Barbara Lanning asked for a minimum
$100,000 bond for Cleveland. The prosecutor said during the hearing
that Cleveland knew the dogs were aggressive and vicious and left
them alone knowing that they were not restrained.
"Those dogs escaped multiple times even a week prior to this
incident," Lanning said. "He knew that backyard was not secure."
Lanning said Cleveland was aware of a recent incident in which the
dogs fought each other in his home and that in late July, one of the
dogs killed "multiple" puppies.
On Thursday evening, hundreds of white and pink balloons were sent
toward the sky as family and the community dressed in white held a
vigil for Emma.
Calling out never again, about 300 mourners gathered at St. Hedwig
Park, next door to Emmas school, Academy of the Americas, where she
played each day during recess.
Principal Nicholas Brown said he hopes he never has to talk about an
attack like this to students.
This is just the beginning to reconcile what has occurred ... but we
will walk with this family through this together one step at a time,
Brown told the crowd. This is just a small sample of the love in our
Detroit Police Department Chaplain Corp. Avis Taylor sang Amazing
Grace and led a group in a prayer with his arms wrapped around family
members. The attack left those who knew Emma speechless, they said,
and many declined to comment.
Stephen Grady, chief of staff for City Council president Brenda Jones,
spoke to the family saying he, as a father of two, couldnt imagine
the pain they are enduring.
On behalf of the council, the staff members, the entire city and all
670,000 Detroiters, I want the Hernandez family to know we express our
condolences, and all of us are praying, supporting and loving you,
Grady said. I personally, havent been able to sleep well the past
Emma and her 13-year-old brother were out for a bike ride around 4
p.m. Monday in the alley on the 6030 block of Central Avenue when she
was attacked. Another neighbor threw bricks at the dogs in an attempt
to stop them from mauling the girl.
Emma's father rushed her to the hospital, where she was pronounced
Before the fatal attack on Monday, Cleveland allegedly left the dogs
that "he knew were dangerous, loose and unsecured" in the backyard of
his home while he went to a nearby store, the prosecutor said.
Investigation of the location revealed that the fence that lined the
yard was damaged. There was also a garage side door that was open and
led to the alley where the victim was attacked, Lanning said.
"It is horrible to imagine what Emma went through as she was being
mauled to death by vicious dogs allegedly owned by the defendant,"
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement Thursday.
An investigator for Animal Control in Detroit had been out to the
man's home in March 2018 following an anonymous phone call of "two
dogs loose" in the neighborhood.
Animal Control Officer Carl McClanahan said he followed up on a March
2 complaint with his department and went to the home in the 6000 block
of Central Avenue, across the alley from the girl's home on Florida
McClanahan said he didn't get an answer at the home and didn't see the
two dogs the caller complained about. The officer said he left a note
asking for the dogs' owner to call him back. McClanahan said he never
did. Animal Control did not get followup calls from neighbors about
McClanahan said Animal Control is waiting on orders for the dogs to be
A visitation will be held 5-7 p.m. Thursday at St. Hedwig Park on
Junction near Michigan, said the child's uncle Francisco Hermandez.
The child's funeral is at noon Saturday at St. Cunegunda Church, 5900
St. Lawrence in Detroit. Visitation is 3-8 p.m. Friday at
Professional Mortuary Services, 3833 Livernois, also in Detroit.
There has been an outpouring of support for the Hernandez family
following the death.
As of 11 a.m. Thursday, a GoFundMe page had raised $57,560 to help pay
for Emma's funeral costs and other expenses.
A growing memorial for Emma graces the family's house. Another smaller
memorial marks where the child was attacked in the alley linking
Central Street, where the dogs lived with their owner, and the child's
block on Florida.