Two suspects charged in death of Cleveland detective, police informant

CLEVELAND — Two suspects have been charged with fatally shooting a Cleveland police detective and another man said to be an informant during what authorities say was a robbery attempt.

David McDaniel Jr., 18, of Cleveland, was charged Tuesday with two counts of aggravated murder in Cleveland Municipal Court, records show. A 17-year-old male, who was not identified because of his age, faces aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and felonious assault charges in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court.

McDaniel and the 17-year-old are accused of killing Cleveland Police Detective James Skernivitz, 53, and Scott Dingess, 50, as they sat in Skernivitz’s unmarked police car Thursday night, FOX reported.

double tragedy
Det. James Skernivitz was murdered Thursday night. (ODMP)

A police statement of facts filed with the charges against McDaniel say he and two juveniles approached Skernivitz’s car, which was parked behind a store, and shot Skernivitz and Dingess during an attempted robbery. McDaniel was arrested Sunday.

David McDaniel Jr.
David McDaniel Jr. was charged with murder in the shooting that killed Det. James Skernivitz. (Cleveland Division of Police)

Skernivitz was conducting an undercover investigation in the area and Scott Dingess, 50, was an informant working with Skernivitz, according to five police sources, reported.

Skernivitz along with other law enforcement officers were sworn in last Wednesday as members of the FBI’s Violent Crime Task Force in support of Operation Legend, a Justice Department effort to crack down on violent crime in Cleveland and other cities, Law Officer reported.

He was also assigned to the Cleveland police gang unit. Authorities have not said whether Skernivitz was working with the federal task force or the gang unit when he was killed.

Skernivitz’s funeral is scheduled for Friday.

Shortly after the double homicide, police confirmed that Officer Nick Sabo had taken his own life, Law Officer reported.

Sabo, 38, wrote several posts on Facebook late Thursday and early Friday, referencing the shooting death Skernivitz before he died in his North Ridgeville home.


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