Authorities in Ohio have made three arrests in a shooting that killed a Cleveland police officer and an informant with whom he was working, reports CBS affiliate WOIO. Detective James Skernivitz, 53, was shot around 10 p.m. Thursday on the west side.
Police said Skernivitz was working on an undercover drug operation and he and his informant were ambushed while sitting in a car, the station reports. The slain informant was identified as Scott Dingess, 50.
The department did not immediately release the names of the three people arrested Friday.
Police Chief Calvin Williams told reporters that Skernivitz was with the department for 25 years, saying: “Cleveland lost one of its finest.”
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
Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Jeff Follmer described the officer as well-liked within the department. WOIO reports he was assigned to the gang impact unit and was married with two adult children.
“It’s bad — they’re all bad, but this one hurts,” Follmer told reporters.
Ohio governor Mike DeWine said on Twitter he is “heartbroken” and ordered flags on state buildings in Cuyahoga County and Columbus lowered.
It has been more than 10 years since an on-duty Cleveland police officer was fatally shot.
Patrol Officer Derek Owens, 36, was killed in February 2008 while chasing a suspect. Owens caught up to the man, who turned and shot Owens in the abdomen below his bulletproof vest.
The man was found guilty of aggravated murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole.
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