Cleveland holds tribute to slain detective

Police, firefighters and EMS paid respects to James Skernivitz with a salute and unfurled American flag

By Eric Heisig
The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cleveland firefighters, EMS workers and police officers on Saturday paid their respects to slain Detective James Skernivitz as his body was taken to a funeral home.

The police department’s Twitter account showed pictures of first responders saluting a hearse as it and two escorting motorcycle patrol officers drove by the former Third District station at East 21st Street and Payne Avenue. Skernivitz previously worked in the Third District.

Two fire trucks raised their ladders and firefighters unfurled the American flag as the hearse drove underneath.

Skernivitz, a 22-year-veteran of the police department, was fatally shot Thursday while working undercover with informant Scott Dingess on West 65th Street near Storer Avenue, authorities said.

Police said three people fired several shots at the duo as they sat in Skernivitz’s unmarked police car. Authorities have arrested three people – two teenagers and an adult – in connection with the investigation and all three are in jail on unrelated warrants, according to investigators.

Prosecutors have not filed formal charges in the officer and informant’s deaths.

Skernivitz, 53, is the first Cleveland officer killed on duty in a shooting since Derek Owens on Feb. 29, 2008.


Today, Cleveland first responders including Divisions of @ClevelandFire and @ClevelandEMS joined us as Detective James...

Posted by Cleveland Police on Saturday, September 5, 2020

©2020 The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

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