CLEVELAND, Ohio – A Cleveland police officer took his own life shortly after a Cleveland police officer was shot dead on duty.
The 38-year-old officer Nicholas Sabo wrote several posts on Facebook late Thursday and early Friday referring to the death of Det. James Skernivitz before he died at his home in North Ridgeville.
Sabo has been a Cleveland, Skernivitz officer since 201
“I don’t think anyone out there can really understand what the division is going through with the loss of an officer on duty, particularly due to violence. This is a terrible tragedy,” said Calvin Williams, Cleveland police chief. “But two officers in one night is really bad.”
Williams said they are still trying to understand why Sabo committed suicide. He said the two officers knew each other but didn’t know if they had ever worked closely together.
Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, said he was “shocked” by Sabo’s death.
“We’re still trying to understand,” said Follmer.
Sabo worked as a police officer near Columbus before working for Cleveland, Williams said.
Sabo was featured in a WJW TV story in 2016 after Sabo was part of a group that distributed candy and toys to children in Cleveland in honor of Wayne Leon, the Cleveland officer who was shot dead on duty in June 2000.
Sabo’s death came not long after Skernivitz and a 50-year-old police informant were shot dead on West 65th Street near Storer Avenue.
Skernivitz was conducting an undercover investigation of the area, and Scott Dingess, 50, was an informant who worked with Skernivitz, according to five police sources.
Three people shot the duo multiple times while sitting in Skernivitz’s unmarked police car. Skernivitz was shot once in the chest and Dingess was hit multiple times, according to the sources.
Three people – two teenagers and one adult – were arrested in connection with the investigation. All three are in jail on unrelated arrest warrants, Williams said. No formal charges have been filed in this case.
“Jimmy was a great cop,” said Williams. “He was what we call a cop. He worked hard for the city he loved, worked hard to provide for his family. And he worked hard to take care of his colleagues. “Skern”, as many officers called him, he was the one we keep trying to copy because he did the work the way it should have been done. “
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