Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson is expected to have a press conference at 3 p.m. to address the shooting. Chief of Police Calvin Williams and Director of Public Safety Karrie Howard will also speak.
He was shot and killed in the area of West 65th Street and Storer Avenue around 10 p.m., according to police.
“Very little information is available at this time,” read a statement from the department. “We are asking that anyone with information call 9-1-1.”
Cleveland.com reported that a second person was also shot and taken to a local hospital. Scott Dingess, 50, died Thursday night at the hospital, according to WKYC.
Skernivitz was part of the department’s gang investigation’s unit and was conducting an undercover investigation involving drugs when he was shot, according to Cleveland.com.
The shooting is believed to be random or part of an attempted robbery.
Gov. Mike DeWine ordered that flags be be lowered to half-staff in Cuyahoga County and at the Ohio Statehouse, Vern Riffe Center, and Rhodes Tower in Columbus until sunset on the day of the detective’s funeral. All other public buildings in the state may fly flags at half-staff for the same time period at their discretion.
“Fran and I are heartbroken to learn of the shooting death of Cleveland police Detective James Skernivitz,” he said. “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.”
“Detective Skernivitz gave his life trying to keep danger off the streets of Cleveland,” said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. “This tragedy shows once again the valor and honor of the police — and that there are yet dangerous, evil men in the world who must be brought to justice. My heart breaks for his family and I pray that in their grief, they find solace in his legacy of service and sacrifice.”
Anyone with information related to the incident is asked to call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 216-25-CRIME.