CLEVELAND — Cleveland police are investigating after an officer was shot and killed in the line of duty, say police, in Cleveland’s Stockyard neighborhood on Thursday evening.
The officer, identified as Det. James Skernivitz, was rushed to MetroHealth Medical Center, where he died from his injuries, according to a spokesman for the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association.
The shooting occurred around 10 p.m. in the 3200 block of West 65th Street near Storer Avenue.
According to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office, the officer was shot in the torso and sustained injuries to his heart and lungs.
Authorities said another person, 50-year-old Scott Dingess, was also shot and killed at the scene and is not a suspect in the officer's shooting.
A rep for the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association said Skernivitz, a husband and father, was "well-liked" and a "good man."
"This one hurts," Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association president Jeff Follmer said.
CPPA President Jeff Follmer just confirmed that a Cleveland police officer has died tonight. He offers prayers to the family and says this officer was well liked in the department. One other person is also confirmed dead at this scene. No other details are known. #WEWS @WEWS pic.twitter.com/yPYEfD1uBd— Mike Vielhaber (@MVielhaber) September 4, 2020
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said Skernivitz was part of Operation Legend, a federal law enforcement effort taking place in cities across the country, including Cleveland. He was most recently assigned to the Gang Impact Unit.
"We definitely need the prayers of the people in the city. This officer was out doing what all police officers do—trying to protect the people the city—and he gave his life," Williams said hours after the shooting.
According to Williams, Skernivitz, who was known by other officers as "Skirn," was what you would call a "policeman's policeman." He was beloved by the department and served Cleveland faithfully for more than 22 years.
Skernivitz is survived by a wife and two adult children, Williams said.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued a statement on Friday.
Fran and I are heartbroken to learn of the shooting death of @CLEpolice Det. James Skernivitz. We offer our deepest condolences to his family and colleagues. In honor of his life, I’ve ordered flags lowered on state buildings and grounds in Cuyahoga County and Columbus. pic.twitter.com/ewfEfmbijs— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) September 4, 2020
Special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Columbus responded to the scene to assist the police.
A suspect has not been identified at this time, and anyone with information regarding the shooting is asked to call 911 or report information anonymously through Crimestoppers by calling 216-25-CRIME. Tips can also be called into the FBI tip line at 216-622-6842.