CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Cleveland police officer took his own life, shortly after a Cleveland police officer was shot and killed while on duty, officials said.
Officer Nicholas Sabo, 38, wrote several posts on Facebook late Thursday and early Friday, referencing the shooting death Det. James Skernivitz before he died in his North Ridgeville home.
Sabo has been an officer with the Cleveland department since 2013, Skernivitz since 1998. Both officers were married and had children.
“I don’t think anybody out there can really understand what the division is going through with the loss of an officer in the line of duty, especially to violence, is a terrible tragedy,” Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said. “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 ever worked closely together.
Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Jeff Follmer said he was “shocked” by Sabo’s death.
“We’re still trying to understand it,” Follmer said.
Sabo worked as a police officer near Columbus before coming to work for Cleveland, Williams said.
Sabo was featured in a WJW-TV story in 2016 after Sabo was part of a group that handed out candy and toys to kids in Cleveland in honor of Wayne Leon, the Cleveland officer who was shot and killed on-duty in June 2000.
Sabo’s death came not long after Skernivitz and a 50-year-old police informant were shot to death on West 65th Street near Storer Avenue.
Skernivitz was conducting an undercover investigation into the area and Scott Dingess, 50, was an informant working with Skernivitz, according to five police sources.
Three people fired several shots at the duo as they sat in Skernivitz’s unmarked police car. Skernivitz was shot once in the chest and Dingess was hit several times, according to the sources.
Three people, two teenagers and an adult, were arrested in connection with the investigation. All three are in jail on unrelated warrants, Williams said. Formal charges have not been filed in that case.
“Jimmy was a great police officer,” Williams said. “He was what we call a policeman’s policeman. He worked hard for the city that he loved worked hard to take care of his family. And he worked hard to take care of his fellow officers. ‘Skern,’ as a lot of officers called him, he was the one we want to duplicate over and over again because he did the work the way it should have been done.”