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Fargo Police Lieutenant Dies of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Fargo Police Lieutenant Dies of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound

Fargo Police Lieutenant Dies of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound

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  • Fargo Police Lieutenant Dies of Self-Inflicted Gunshot WoundFargo Police Lieutenant Dies of Self-Inflicted Gunshot WoundMore>>

  • A Difficult Job Made Harder

    A Difficult Job Made Harder

    On Tuesday, Fargo Police Chief Keith Ternes told his staff they are measured by the challenges they overcome. In the wake of Lieutenant Jeff Skuza's tragic death, Police Chaplain Kevin Kloster is honoring
    On Tuesday, Fargo Police Chief Keith Ternes told his staff they are measured by the challenges they overcome. In the wake of Lieutenant Jeff Skuza's tragic death, Police Chaplain Kevin Kloster is honoring

Update

The Fargo Police Department is mourning the loss of Lieutenant Jeff Skuza after he took his own life the morning of March 11.

Lt. Skuza had been a part of the department in several different positions for more than 22 years, most recently being promoted to lieutenant in March 2011.

Lt. Skuza called officers to Holy Cross Cemetery in South Fargo around 4:30 a.m. When they arrived, they found that he had used a gun to take his own life.

Authorities say that paramedics were called to the scene, but they were unable to help.

A press conference was held this afternoon at Fargo City Hall where Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker, City Commissioner Tim Mahoney and Fargo Police Chief Keith Ternes all spoke about the tremendous impact Lt. Skuza had on this community, the Department and how this impacts Fargo police.

"It would be an understatement to say how profoundly saddened the entire police department is at the loss of our fellow officer. Jeff was an incredibly valuable member of our organization," says Chief Ternes.

There are still many unanswered questions. The Cass County Sheriff's Department is handling the investigation. Valley News Live will have more information as it becomes available.


Original Story

Fargo Police Chief Keith Ternes announced on Tuesday that Lt. Jeff Skuza died in the early morning hours of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"Today is a bad day for the Police Department," Chief Ternes said. "And tomorrow won't be easier."

Officers were initially called to an area near the Holy Cross Cemetery south of the Fargo city limits. Chief Ternes says Skuza called 911 to let officers know where he would be. Chief Ternes says responding officers found Skuza at the cemetery and called paramedics, but nothing could be done to save him.

Skuza joined the Fargo Police Department as a patrol officer in October of 1991. He was promoted to Sergeant in January of 2001 after holding several positions including a uniformed patrol Sergeant, the department's training Sergeant and investigations Sergeant. Skuza was promoted to Lieutenant in March of 2011 where he was assigned as command officer for Fargo's north side.

Chief Ternes says it would not be fair to speculate as to why Lt. Skuza took his life, but says the Fargo Police Department staff endure hardships and great stress every day. Ternes says Lt. Skuza was very instrumental in creating a peer assistance crisis team to help officers through traumatic times.

"It was through his vision and his leadership that we recognized that police officers are human and they need support from time to time when they're confronted with tragic situations, most of which just come with this line of work," Ternes explains.

Chief Ternes says everyone in their department is on a first-name basis and this loss affects everyone. He thanks everyone in the community for their support and condolences during this time. Skuza leaves behind a wife and two teenage children.

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