Motive unknown in shooting death of Cleveland police detective

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cleveland Division of Police Chief Calvin Williams released limited information Friday afternoon on the death of a detective.

Det. James Skernivitz, 53, was shot in the area of West 65th Street and Storer Avenue in Cleveland at about 10 p.m. Thursday. He was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center, where he died at 10:33 p.m.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office said he suffered a gunshot wound to his trunk, causing injuries to his heart and lungs.

“We do not have a motive to this. It could have been random. It could have been targeted,” Williams said.

Scott Dingess, 50, was also killed in the shooting. Williams would not elaborate on Skernivitz’s assignment or Dingess’ involvement.

Three suspects are in custody on unrelated charges, Cleveland Safety Director Karrie Howard said.

Skernivitz was a member of the Cleveland Division of Police for more than 20 years. He leaves behind a wife and two adult children. This week, he was sworn in as a member of the violent crime task force.

“He worked hard for the city that he loved. He worked hard for his family,” Williams said. “We wanted to duplicate him over and over again because he did the work how it needed to be done.” He called “Skern” a great police officer.

Investigators are still seeking information on the case. Anyone with tips should call the FBI tipline at 216-622-6842.

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