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Owner of pit bull that fatally mauled Richmond church deacon, 88, will not be charged criminally

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The owner of a pit bull that fatally mauled an 88-year-old neighbor three weeks ago in Richmond was forced to beat her dog with a rake before she was able to drag the canine off the victim, Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin said in a statement about the now-concluded investigation.

The owner, Tracey Hicks, has been issued summonses for charges of possessing a nuisance dog, having an unrestrained dog, not having a breeder’s permit, not having a city dog license and not having a current rabies vaccination for the animal.

Hicks will not be charged criminally for the Nov. 7 attack that killed Evangeline Brooks, an elder for First Baptist Church of South Richmond.

Evangeline Brooks

Brooks

According to McEachin’s account of the incident, Hicks was walking her 6-year-old pit pull about 6:30 a.m. in the 1500 block of Alaska Drive. The dog had a shock collar but was not on a leash.

Brooks, a neighbor, called out in the dark to Hicks from a nearby yard. Hicks was “startled,” and in reaction her dog suddenly attacked Brooks.

The dog did not respond to Hicks’ use of the shock collar, and “Hicks had to beat her dog with a rake before she was able to drag the dog off of Mrs. Brooks.” Hicks then put the dog in the house, called 911 and immediately returned to assist Brooks, McEachin said in the statement.

“Tragically, Mrs. Brooks died as a result of this horrific attack,” McEachin said. “The dog was promptly euthanized by Richmond Animal Control.”

Both the Richmond Police Department and Richmond Animal Control began an immediate investigation. McEachin said Hicks was issued five summonses and “has fully cooperated with the investigation.”

Based on the results of an investigation, the Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has determined that no further criminal charges are appropriate, and the criminal probe is now concluded.

The investigation was based on statements made by Hicks; statements made by Brooks’ son; statements from neighbors who are familiar with Hicks and her dog’s behavior; statements by the dog’s veterinarian; a review of police body-worn camera footage; and a review of veterinary records associated with the dog, McEachin said.

Brooks was a graduate of Maggie L. Walker High School and Virginia Union University, and she taught second grade at A.M. Davis Elementary School in Chesterfield County for many years, according to her obituary notice.

She was a deacon at First Baptist Church of South Richmond and a member of the church for 25 years. She was involved in various groups in the community, including the Deacons Conference of Richmond and Vicinity.

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