‘Pray for our city’: Cleveland police officer, one other killed in shooting

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – Several suspects are being questioned and at least one person has been arrested in the shooting death of a police officer, according to law enforcement.

Detective James Skernivitz, 53, was killed after his car was shot multiple times around 10 p.m. Thursday. He died after being taken to Metro Health Medical Center.

Another person who was in the car with Skernivitz was also killed, police said. That person, who is not considered a suspect, has not yet been identified.

EMS said the other person was a 50-year-old man. He was in critical condition when taken from the scene but died at the hospital.

Police Chief Calvin Williams, who was visibly upset when he spoke about the officer’s death at the hospital, requested the public’s help in the case. He asked “anybody that heard anything … anybody that saw anything, anybody that knows anything” to contact police.

“This officer was out doing what police officers do: trying to protect the people of this city and he gave his life,” Williams said. “Pray for our folks. Pray for our city. Pray for his family, too.”

Police Union President Jeff Follmer said Skernivitz, a 25-year veteran of the Cleveland Division of Police, was a great guy and a great officer.  

“This one hurts,” he said.

Many officers with the Cleveland Division of Police came to the hospital, as did Mayor Frank Jackson.

One officer was seen with an American flag.

An area where the shooting took place remained blocked off Friday morning as police looked for evidence.

“We still have an ongoing investigation,” Williams said.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 216-25-CRIME or 216-623-5464. The FBI has also established a tip line at 216-622-6842.

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