First clues that led to arrests in murdered Cleveland detective investigation

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has more on the first clues that helped investigators start getting justice for James Skernivitz, the Cleveland police detective shot and killed last week in the line of duty along with an informant.

By midday Tuesday, police had arrested a third suspect, and that came hours after investigators had start filing charges in the case.

A 15-year-old, a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old all face charges.

The I-Team obtained video from cameras in the west side neighborhood where the shooting happened. The cameras captured three guys walking up to that area. Then you see them leaving. First, walking away and then starting to run.

We’ve learned investigators used that while following up on tips from the neighborhood and other evidence to build cases.

Now court records show the shooting happened during an “attempted robbery.” And, the suspects “knew or had reasonable cause to know [James Skernivitz] was a law enforcement officer.”

Yet, even after hauling in suspects, the I-Team found detectives were still investigating to nail down specifically what led to the shooting and why those teens walked up to that undercover car.

In fact, officers rounded up three possible suspects last week. But as detectives continued to investigate, they determined the three guys they now have in custody are actually to blame.

David McDaniel Jr., 18, has been hit with two counts of aggravated murder. He will likely face more charges too after his case goes to a grand jury.

In Cuyahoga Co Juvenile Court, 17-year-old Kevin Robinson is also facing aggravated murder charges.

At a hearing Tuesday, a prosecutor said, “He also admitted to being present.”

She also said: “Three individuals are seen approaching the victim’s vehicle prior to shots being fired. This juvenile was identified as one of these parties.” Robinson’s case is expected to end up in adult court.

Meantime, the I-Team went through court records. We found these teens were not wanted on other crimes before this and hadn’t attracted the attention of law enforcement. Checking their records, we found traffic cases and other minor crime.

The I-Team went to the home of the 17-year-old, and a relative said, “no comment.” We got no answer at the home of the young adult.

We’ve learned a 15-year-old turned himself in on Tuesday at a west side convenience store in a meeting arranged by his family.

Now, his case, too, will start to move through juvenile court. Behind it all, detectives will work to tie up their cases with the evidence they’ve gathered and that video that provided the first clues.

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