CLEVELAND — Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine Friday ordered the flags of the United States and the State of Ohio to be flown at half-staff in honor Cleveland Police Detective James Skernivitz, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in the area of West 65th Street near Storer Avenue.
DeWine ordered flags at all public buildings and grounds throughout Cuyahoga County and at the Ohio Statehouse, Vern Riffe Center, and Rhodes Tower in Columbus, to be flown at half-staff. Flags will remain lowered until sunset on the day of Skernivitz’s funeral.
The governor 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
All other public buildings and grounds throughout the state may fly the flags of the United States and the State of Ohio at half-staff at their discretion for the same time period.
County Executive Armond Budish issued the following statement:
“My heart goes out to the family, friends and fellow police officers who knew Detective James Skernivitz. Detective Skernivitz served 28 years on the Cleveland Police Force—as an undercover officer he was on the front lines of important work against gangs. Last night he was shot down.Police officers throughout the country put their lives on the line every day to protect us from crime and danger. That statement should not be a flashpoint or controversial—unfortunately, these days it is. I am grateful for Detective Skernivitz’s service and I pray for his family. May he rest in peace.”
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost joined police departments in Northeast Ohio in reacting to the death of Skernivitz.
Yost released the following statement:
"Detective Skernivitz gave his life trying to keep danger off the streets of Cleveland. This tragedy shows once again the valor and honor of the police — and that there are yet dangerous, evil men in the world who must be brought to justice.
My heart breaks for his family and I pray that in their grief, they find solace in his legacy of service and sacrifice.”
Kent Police Department released a statement.
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams asked for prayers.
"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, so we ask that you kind of give his family a little room," Williams said hours after the shooting.
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) offered his condolences in a statement on Twitter:
"Heartbroken to hear that Cleveland Police Detective James Skernivitz was shot and killed in the line of duty last night. Jane and I offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fellow officers."
Vienna Township Police Department said it stands with the Cleveland Police Department.
The Association of Cleveland Firefighters Local 93 said in a tweet that it mourns alongside the Cleveland Police Department.
The Association of Cleveland Firefighters Local 93 stands in solidarity with our Cleveland Police brothers & sisters.— CLE Firefighters-L93 (@Cleveland_FFs) September 4, 2020
We send our deepest condolences, for the horrible loss of Officer Skernivitz.
We mourn alongside you.