Man accused of killing retired deputy who was delivering propane

WEIRSDALE, Fla. — A Weirsdale man was arrested Tuesday after fatally shooting a retired Citrus County deputy, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.

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Detectives said they were called at about 9:45 a.m. to a shooting at Southeast 180th Street in Weirsdale.

They said there they discovered the body of Steven Smolensky, 52, who had been shot multiple times.

Detectives said Smolensky had traveled to the home to deliver propane for his employer, Suburban Propane.

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They said Steven Alan Swearingen, 38, confronted Smolensky and held him at gunpoint, refusing to let him leave or return to his propane truck, before shooting Smolensky to death.

Detectives said Swearingen told them he thought Smolensky was there to “fill the home with propane,” so he grabbed a gun and confronted Smolensky before killing him.

Smolensky had worked for the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office for 25 years before retiring in 2017.

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“We would like to commend our counterparts there at MCSO for quickly apprehending this suspect before another tragedy unfolded,” Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast said in a statement.

Scroll below to read the sheriff’s full statement.

Detectives said Swearingen has an extensive criminal history, including acting violently toward law enforcement officers.

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He was booked into the Marion County Jail on charges of second-degree murder, false imprisonment and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Swearingen is being held without bail.

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“It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that I inform our community of the murder of retired CCSO Deputy Sheriff...

Posted by Citrus County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Jason Kelly

Jason Kelly, WFTV.com

Jason Kelly joined WFTV in 2014.