Police search for gunman after Cleveland police officer shot dead

A shooting left a Cleveland police officer and another person dead, and authorities on Friday sought the person or people responsible, officials said. Detective James Skernivitz, 53, was shot around 10 p.m. Thursday on the west side.

Police Chief Calvin Williams told reporters that Skernivitz was with the department for 25 years, saying: “Cleveland lost one of its finest.”

Fran and I are heartbroken to learn of the shooting death of @CLEpolice Det. James Skernivitz. 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. pic.twitter.com/ewfEfmbijs

Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Jeff Follmer said a second person, who was not an officer but was in Skernivitz’s car, also died. Details about that person weren’t immediately released by police.

Follmer described the officer as well-liked within the department.

“It’s bad — they’re all bad, but this one hurts,” Follmer told reporters.

Ohio governor Mike DeWine said on Twitter he is “heartbroken” and ordered flags on state buildings in Cuyahoga County and Columbus lowered.

Investigators appealed to the public for help in finding a suspect or suspects. The FBI in Cleveland offered a cash reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

It has been more than 10 years since an on-duty Cleveland police officer was fatally shot.

Patrol Officer Derek Owens, 36, was killed in February 2008 while chasing a suspect. Owens caught up to the man, who turned and shot Owens in the abdomen below his bulletproof vest.

The man was found guilty of aggravated murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole.

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