I-TEAM: Mother of suspect in deadly shooting of Cleveland detective speaks out

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-TEAM has uncovered how investigators are building their case against three teens for the deadly shooting of a Cleveland police detective and another man.

The I-TEAM also spoke with the mother of a 15-year-old suspect. She shed new light on what led to the shooting of Detective James Skernivitz and a civilian as the officer worked undercover in a drug investigation.

“Whatever them other kids did, they got him in a bad situation. They lied to him. They told him that he was going to get marijuana,” the teen’s mother said.

She added, “He’s not that type of person. He had never done nothing like this.”

Cleveland police have also filed charges against an 18-year-old and a 17-year-old.

The I-TEAM has learned police think the teens simply walked up on the car to carry out a robbery, and it turned deadly. Police do not think the killers targeted the detective because he was an officer.

Nonetheless, court records on the two juveniles say they either knew or should have known the undercover detective was an officer.

“He didn’t know nothing about it. He didn’t. He did not have no weapon,” said the mother.

Multiple sources confirm investigators found some evidence in a sewer grate. They captured video of three people around the detective’s car as the shooting happened. Plus, video captured three guys matching the description of the suspects going to the crime scene and walking away for blocks.

We’ve learned police pieced together video from city cameras and cameras on homes.

Investigators have also said in court the suspects have made comments putting themselves at the scene.

The 18-year-old could face the death penalty. The two younger juveniles could face life in prison if they get tried in adult court.

“That’s sad He doesn’t deserve that. He’s not that type of person,” said the mother.

Yet, she also understands the horror of what happened.

“I’m deeply remorseful for them two families because nobody should lose their life…ever.”

Cleveland Police Det. James Skernivitz

Next, a grand jury will consider charges against the 18-year-old.

Juvenile Court judges will hold hearings in the months ahead to decide if the 15 and 17- year-old suspects will go on trial in adult court.

Police are determined to get justice.

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