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Prosecutors reveal 17 shots were fired into car that killed Cleveland police detective

James Skernivitz
Posted at 4:20 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 18:18:48-04

CLEVELAND — New details emerged Wednesday in the deadly attack that killed Cleveland Police Detective James Skernivitz and another man on Cleveland's west side in September 2020.

Those details came out during a juvenile court hearing for an 18-year-old charged in the murders.

"He's one of the main individuals who committed this heinous act," said Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Mahmoud Awadallah. "This was an unprovoked attack."

We're not naming the teen because he's charged as a juvenile due to his age at the time of the murders.

Prosecutors said he was part of a group of people who went to the area of West 65th Street and Storer Avenue planning to rob someone of a gun.

Instead, investigators said they came across the undercover police car with Skernivitz and 50-year-old Scott Dingess inside.

"He saw a person in the car with money in his lap," said Awadallah. "They decided to just shoot the car up. Seventeen shots into that car."

Prosecutors said the teen continuing firing into the car as it attempted to drive away.

Investigators said they recovered pieces of the gun used in the deadly shootings, and that it belonged to the teen's mother.

Prosecutors argued in court that the teen was a "danger to everybody in our community."

"This case involves two victims in this case that we're working in their capacity for the community," said Awadallah. "You have a sworn police officer, Detective Skernivitz, that was in that car, but you also have a confidential, reliable informant who had been with and worked with the police department for a number of years and was working that day in that capacity as a confidential, reliable informant."

A judge ordered the teen held without bond until an August hearing.

A proposed plea agreement with a 15-year old also charged in the murders was postponed.

The teen's defense attorney said Wednesday the teen was not a gunman in the killings.

A third man, 19-year old David McDaniel, is charged in adult court with the murders and is awaiting trial.

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