(Cleveland) - "This is the last call for Detective James Skernivitz, Badge 2247, of the Gang Impact Unit. Radio to 8867, Gang Unit Detective Skernivitz, you are clear to report off duty"
With those words from police radio, Cleveland Police Detective James Skernivitz went to his final resting place, after a funeral service at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, attended by family, friends, and police officers from all over Ohio and some other states. The ceremony was also carried live on WTAM. Click here to see the video.
It was a ceremony filled with the standard trappings of a police funeral. The military-style marches and salutes. A 21-gun salute, Taps, and the sound of Amazing Grace on bagpipes.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr spoke. It was Barr's second time in Cleveland in less than a month, as he was here a couple of weeks ago to meet with those involved with Operation Legend, a federal-state-local partnership to fight violent crime in Cleveland and eight other major cities. Barr said he hopes that the death of Det. Skernivitz and his funeral has some good. Barr said, :"I pray his tragic death may help remind people of some of the basic truths, and stop some of the vilification of the police."
Cleveland Chief of Police Calvin Williams said that Skernivitz was honored many times for taking violent criminals off the streets of Cleveland. Williams says Skernivitz became a Cleveland Police officer so he could protect the city he grew up in, and make it safe.
The detective leaves behind his wife, Kristen, and three children. In lieu of flowers, contributions to the family in support of his children's education are appreciated.
Det. Skernivitz was shot while on an undercover assignment on September 3 near West 65th and Storer. A man who has been described as, but not confirmed by police to be, an informant, was also killed. Three teenagers, ages 18, 17, and 15, are all charged in their murders.
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(Photo courtesy Cleveland Division of Police)
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