BRECKSVILLE, Ohio — Hearts are heavy in Northeast Ohio, specifically in Brecksville, where slain Cleveland Police Detective James Skernivitz, who was killed Thursday night in the line of duty, lived with his family.
As word spreads about Skernivitz’s death, the heaviness is felt in the air.
The flag in the town square—like those across the state— lowered to half staff for a man neighbors say was stand up person.
“I’m going to miss Jim. Man, I’m going to miss him,” said Jeff Hlinka, a neighbor of Skernivitz.
“I’m just heartbroken,” he added, struggling with the news.
Hlinka tried to best describe his friend and neighbor.
“He’s a great family man — he’d do anything for you and he’s a great community leader.”
Hlinka said despite working for Cleveland Police, he had strong ties to his brothers and sisters in blue in Brecksville.
“He was just a great guy. He’s always cared for other people and always try to help people out,” he said.
As Hlinka tries to wrap his head around what happened, he is keeping his wife and children close in thought as they face a future without him.
“It’s going to be hard for me to get over this guy—he was just a great guy. He will be forever missed.”
There are blue ribbons on utility poles here in Brecksville in honor of the officers’ commitment to safety in the community.
On Friday, they serve as a reminder and tribute of one of their own, gunned down in the line of duty.