Retired police officer, propane driver, shot and killed because gunman thought he wanted to ‘fill his home with gas’

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WEIRSDALE, FL – Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Major Crimes Detective Andrew Canterberry arrested Steven Alan Swearingen (W/M, DOB: 05/11/1983) for Second Degree Murder, False Imprisonment, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.

On November 30, 2021, at approximately 9:45 a.m., MCSO deputies responded to the report of a shooting at 15055 SE 180th Street, in Weirsdale. When deputies arrived at the location, they located the victim, 52-year-old Steven Smolensky, who was deceased and who had sustained multiple gunshot wounds. Investigation revealed that the victim went to the location to deliver propane for his employer, Suburban Propane. While at the residence, the victim was confronted by Swearingen, who was armed with a pistol and held him at gunpoint, refusing to let him leave the location or return to his propane truck. Eventually, Swearingen shot the victim multiple times.

Swearingen was taken into custody and transported to the Criminal Investigations Division for questioning. During his interview, Swearingen stated he believed the victim was there to “fill the home with propane” so he retrieved a handgun and confronted the victim regarding his presence at the residence. Swearingen stated the victim told him that he was there to fill the propane tank. Swearingen further stated that when the victim attempted to return to his propane truck, he held the victim at gunpoint and would not allow him to move. Swearingen then admitted to shooting the victim multiple times.

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The victim, Steven Smolensky, was a retired deputy sheriff who had served with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office for 25 years. Swearingen is a convicted felon with an extensive criminal history, including convictions for crimes involving violence towards law enforcement.

At the conclusion of the interview, Swearingen was placed under arrest and transported to the Marion County Jail, where he is held without bond.