Suspect in custody after retired Citrus County deputy murdered in Marion County, sheriff says

Citrus County

CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A retired Citrus County deputy was murdered in central Florida on Tuesday, according to the county sheriff.

Retired Deputy Steven Smolensky was shot and killed near Ocala, Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast told 8 On Your Side’s Chip Osowski. Smolensky retired a few years ago after spending 25 years with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office.

After retiring from the sheriff’s office, Smolensky went to work for Suburban Propane in Marion County. According to Sheriff Prendergast, the retired deputy was shot and killed while delivering propane.

“One of the most innocent things to do and was providing a service to somebody in the community who’s called and said, hey please come fill my gas tank up. That’s what he was doing and he was confronted by this armed suspect who wasn’t having anything about it,” Sheriff Prendergast said.

Detectives have arrested 38-year-old Steven Alan Swearingen for second degree murder.

“He was only 52 years old.  52 years old and to have his life end so tragically like this by someone who murdered him in cold blood.  Clearly in cold blood today,” Prendergast said.

No motive has been given at this time.

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