MARION COUNTY, FL – Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Major Crimes Detectives arrested Steven Alan Swearingen, 38, of Weirsdale, for second degree murder, false imprisonment, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
According to authorities, on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, at approximately 9:45 a.m., the Marion County Sheriff’s Office responded to 15055 SE 180th Street in Weirsdale, in reference to a shooting. It was discovered that a Suburban Propane employee, later identified as 52-year-old Steven Smolensky, called 911 for being held at gun point by an occupant of the residence, later identified as Steven Alan Swearingen, 38. During the 911 call, the victim tells call takers he was at the residence to deliver propane, and one of the residents exited and was holding him at gun point and not allowing him to leave or return to his truck. The victim told 911 call takers the man holding was wearing camouflage shorts and a blue shirt, armed with a black semi-automatic handgun, possibly a .380 or 9mm.
During the 911 call, the victim said he was at the back of the residence and asks for a “1052” which is a police-code for the ETA (estimated time of arrival)a sign that the caller had a career in law enforcement. During the 911 call, the other male voice (presumably Swearingen) was heard saying “get off the god damn phone now” while the victim is heard telling saying he is on the phone with 911 and that he is about 50 feet from his truck and deputies would see him. After a short pause the victim is heard saying, “Oh shit he just shot me”, followed by several gunshots heard. That was the last time Smolensky was heard on the 911 call.
Upon arrival, deputies located the victim deceased with an apparent gunshot wound to the head. The victim was lying near a fence on the west side of the property about 50 feet behind his truck, consistent with the statements to the 911 call taker. Deputies located the suspect, Swearingen, who was wearing jeans a red t-shirt and boots, and he was detained by deputies.
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Responding officers noticed a large white-and-red “Suburban Propane” tank truck parked in the back yard, a few feet from the back door and noted a hose connected to the truck which was leading from the truck to the west side of the property. The victim was on the ground with an apparent gunshot to the head with his cell phone flipped open inches from the body.
After an investigation, it was learned the victim was shot multiple times, with apparent gunshot wounds to his head, neck, arm and upper torso. A few feet from the propane truck was a black semi-automatic Taurus 9mm handgun on the ground with four spent 9mm shell casings about 10 to 15 feet east the victim.
Swearingen was taken into custody and transported to the Criminal Investigations Division for questioning.
During his interview, Swearingen stated he had lived at the incident location for approximately two weeks and was awakened by the dogs barking at approximately 9:30 or 10:00am and when he exited the residence he saw the “Dude” in the backyard. Swearingen said he knew his dad had a gun by his bed, so he grabbed the gun and approached the “Dude” and asked him what he was doing, and he was told he was there to fill propane. Swearingen said the victim told him he was going to his truck, and he told the victim “You’re not going nowhere” and stated, “I fuckin shot him.”
During questioning, Swearingen further said that he was not on drugs or crazy, and believed the man was going to try and fill the house with propane. Swearingen admitted to shooting the victim multiple times.
The victim, Steven Smolensky, was a retired deputy sheriff who had served with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office for 25 years. A criminal check revealed Swearingen is a convicted felon with an extensive criminal history, including convictions for crimes involving violence towards law enforcement. He also has active warrants out of Ohio for failure to appear. At the conclusion of the interview, Swearingen was placed under arrest and transported to the Marion County Jail, where he is held without bond on murder in the 2nd degree, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and false imprisonment.