Florida sheriff’s deputy murdered by felon while working retirement job as a propane truck driver


WEIRSDALE, FL – Steven Smolensky spent 25 years with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office before retiring in 2017. He received 21 letters of commendation and a commemorative service award. After retiring, he had been working as a propane truck driver. 

On November 30th, he arrived at a Marion County home to refill the propane tank. He was shocked to be confronted by a man with a gun. 

That man has been identified as 38-year-old Steven Alan Swearingen.

As Swearingen approached him, the former deputy called 9-1-1. He gave the dispatcher the address, told them he was there to deliver propane, and then provided a detailed description of the individual and the gun. 

Asking the dispatcher when deputies would arrive, he used the code 10-52. 

As reported by the Ocala Star-Banner, a voice believed to be Swearingen’s could be heard telling Smolensky to “get off the f—ing phone. NOW!” The retired deputy informed him that he was on the phone with 9-1-1. Swearingen was also on the phone with his father.

Shortly after that exchange, the dispatcher heard a shot. Smolensky said, “He just shot me.” That statement was followed by several more shots. 

Deputies arrived to find Smolensky had been shot in the head, neck, arm and torso. He did not survive. A 9mm Taurus was found on the ground near his body. 

Swearingen is charged with second-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and false imprisonment.

He is currently being held without bail. The Assistant State’s Attorney, Michael Kotsifakis was able to articulate Swearingen was a flight risk, given that he had warrant in Ohio for resisting with violence and disorderly conduct. The judge agreed. He will next appear in court in January.

According to the arrest affidavit (which is not yet available via public records searches), he told investigators that he was asleep when he heard the dogs barking. He grabbed a gun and went outside, saw Smolensky and asked what he was doing. 

The driver told him he was delivering propane and turned to go back to his truck. 

Swearingen told him he “wasn’t going nowhere.”

“Then I f—ing shot him,” he told detectives.

He further stated that he thought Smolensky was going to fill the house full of propane. However, he told his father on the phone that he thought the man was there to steal propane. 

The gunman told authorities that he isn’t crazy or on drugs. 

The Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast released the following statement via his office’s Facebook page:

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

Steve was a member of our family from June 1992-June 2017. He served in many divisions and upon retirement, was in the Judicial and Juvenile Services Division.

During his 25-year tenure, he received multiple commendations including service awards, a judicial services unit citation, perfect attendance awards, and letters of commendation that include professionalism, kindness, and caring.

Yesterday, officials from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office arrested 38-year-old Steven Alan Swearingen for Steve’s murder which occurred earlier that day. We would like to commend our counterparts there at MCSO for quickly apprehending this suspect before another tragedy unfolded.

We will keep the Smolensky family in our thoughts and prayers as we respect their privacy at this time. Thank you.”

Sgt. Paul Bloom with the MCSO had this to say:

“For someone to survive 25 years in law enforcement and come through that, serving the community well, to then be tragically killed in a situation like this, it is heartbreaking.”

Fellow retired CCSO deputy Kat Powers remember her friend and colleague. 

“Steve ‘Smo’ as his coworkers knew him was truly one of the good guys,” she wrote on Facebook. “This is so heartbreaking that somebody could retire after 25 years of service and some person would make the choice to end his life.

Over the years we in the sheriff’s office have lost a few co-workers, but to my recollection none have been heinously murdered. Regardless of whether he was still working for the sheriff’s office or he was retired, he is part of our sheriff’s office family. My heart goes out to my previous co-workers, his friends and his family. No one deserved this type of tragedy.”

The shooting death of Smolensky comes just a week prior to Richard Houston’s slaying in Mesquite, Texas. 

Officer Houston was responding to a disturbance call at a grocery store when he was shot multiple times. He was able to return fire, striking the suspect. 

37-year-old Jamie Jaramillo is still hospitalized but will be charged with capital murder of a police officer. 

His wife, Juventina Vasquez Bences was booked into jail on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. She is being held on $100,000 bond.

Officials say that Jaramillo went to the grocery store to see his girlfriend and his wife followed him. The disturbance occurred when Bences confronted the other woman. 

When Officer Houston arrived, Jaramillo opened fire hitting him twice. The injured suspect also shot himself in the head.

Officer Houston leaves behind a wife and three children.

Mesquite Chief of Police David Gill said, “This is a senseless act of violence that ripped a loving father from his family.”

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LET Unity

USA- According to records from the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP), a total of 60 police officers across 45 U.S. states and territories have been shot and killed in the line of duty since the beginning of 2021 (January 1st – December 3rd).

The FOP is the world’s oldest and largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers. The organization proudly represents more than 364,000 members from more than 2,100 lodges.

As Breitbart News reported, this is nearly a 28 percent increase in fatal shootings of police officers compared to all of 2020 when 47 officers were shot and killed in the line of duty. 

As of November 30th, FOP records confirm that 314 police officers have been shot since the beginning of the year. One hundred and nineteen of those shootings reportedly occurred in the midst of 95 separate ambush-style attacks on officers, resulting in 28 of the total gunfire deaths. Since 2020, ambush-style attacks on police have increased by nearly 130 percent.

The FOP defines an “ambush-style” attack as:

“An ambush-style attack is defined as when an officer is struck by gunfire without any warning or opportunity to defend themselves.”

According to ODMP data, three police officers have been killed in the first four days of December. Madison “Skip” Nicholson, a reserve police deputy, was killed in gunfire in Wilcox County, Alabama on December 1st.

Mesquite, Texas police officer Richard Houston II was shot and killed in gunfire on December 3rd while St Louis County, Missouri detective Antonio Valentine was killed in a vehicle pursuit on December 1st. 

The strong increase in fatal shootings of police comes after 2020 being marked with a string of anti-law enforcement riots and the start of the devastating “Defund the Police” movement, which took momentum after the death of George Floyd.

In addition to this, bail reform measures where cash bail has been abolished or reduced in favor of immediate jail release for suspects charged with violent crimes in states like New York, California, and Illinois, have dramatically increased the number of repeat violent criminals who are back on the streets within hours of committing those crimes. 

According to the FOP data, in 2019, there were 293 officers in total shot and 50 killed. In 2020, there were 313 officers in total shot and 47 killed, and so far in 2021, there have been 314 officers shot with 58 killed. For 2021, states with the highest number of police being shot are:

Alabama with 15 shootings;
California with 21 shootings;
Florida and Georgia both with 17 shootings;
Illinois with 25 shootings;
New York with 10 shootings;
North Carolina with 12 shootings;
Ohio with 11 shootings; and
Texas with an astonishing 42 shootings.

The FOP data also revealed that in 2020, 49 percent of shooting incidents involved a discernible element of premeditation, which was a 7 percent increase over 2019. In 2019, the FOP partnered with the National Blue Alert Network to collect and analyze data on reported shootings of law enforcement officers nationwide.

The National Blue Alert Network supports the use and integration of Blue Alert plans throughout the U.S. in order to “rapidly disseminate information to law enforcement agencies, the media and the public to aid in the apprehension of violent criminals who have killed or seriously injured an officer in the line of duty.”

Since the left started their “defund the police”, 130 officers have been killed in the line of duty. Say their names.

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers. 

And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.

August 13th, 2021

The following contains editorial content written by a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

USA- If Donald Trump can be blamed for the so-called “insurrection” at the Capitol on January 6, along with the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick and four other officers with the USCP and the DC Metro Police who have since committed suicide, we think that turnabout is fair play.

With that said, the following police officers have all been killed in the line of duty since Democrats began their calls to defund the police. Take note of those officers who were either shot and killed, or otherwise deliberately killed. In our opinion, those deaths are squarely on Democrats.

With that in mind, we put the deaths of a majority of the following officers squarely on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Sens. Corey Booker (D-NJ), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and numerous others; Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Cori Bush (D-MO), and others; and finally Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden. All of these individuals have called to defund the police, demonized police, or fomented violence against police.

The Daily Caller reports As of July 31, 44 police officers have been feloniously killed in 2021, a 41.9% increase over the same period in 2020, according to FBI statistics.

Since the death of George Floyd, 130 police officers in total have been killed in the line of duty as of August 10, 2021. Below is a comprehensive list of all officers killed since May 25, 2020. The officers are, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page (OMDP):

May, 2020

  • 5/27/20- Officer Cody Holte, Grand Forks, ND., shot and killed serving an eviction notice
  • 5/28/20- Officer Nathan Lyday, shot and killed during a domestic disturbance in Ogden, UT.

June, 2020

July, 2020

  • 7/1/20- Officer Jason Judd, Peoria, AZ., died in a motorcycle crash
  • 7/4/20- Officer Anthony Dia, Toledo, OH., shot and killed by a drunk at a hardware store
  • 7/11/20- Officer Edelmiro Garza, McAllen, TX., shot to death responding to domestic disturbance
  • 7/11/20- Officer Ismael Chavez, shot and killed in the same incident in McAllen, TX.
  • Officer Jonathan Shoop, Bothell, WA., shot and killed during a vehicle pursuit
  • 7/19/20- Dep. Sheriff William Garner, Franklin County, GA., struck and killed by a vehicle
  • 7/25/20- Dep. Sheriff Dylan Pickle, Monroe County, MS., struck by car at safety checkpoint
  • 7/31/20- Michigan State Trooper Caleb Starr hit by a drunk driver in Ionia County, MI.

August, 2020

  • 8/9/20- Off. Sheena Yarbrough-Poweel killed by drunk driver, Beaumont, TX.
  • 8/27/20- Officer Bryan Brown shot and killed while attempting to apprehend an armed driver on tribal lands in Arizona
  • 8/30/20- Officer Tamarris Bohannon died after being shot in an ambush the previous day in St. Louis

September, 2020

October, 2020

November, 2020

  • 11/5/20- Officer Marshall Waters, Mangham, Louisiana shot during a traffic stop
  • 11/9/20- Sgt. Sean Rios, Houston Police Dept., TX., shot and killed by gunman in vehicle
  • 11/12/20- Officer Travis Wallace, Helena, AR., shot and killed trying to arrest shoplifting suspect

December, 2020

  • 12/1/20- Dep. Sheriff Jared Allison, Nash County, N.C., struck by car
  • 12/2/20- Officer Andy Ornelas, Palmdale, CA., died from injuries sustained in motorcycle crash
  • 12/3/20- Officer Cassie Johnson, Charleston, W.V., shot dealing with parking incident
  • 12/11/20- Officer Tyler Herndon, Mount Holly, N.C., shot and killed responding to a burglary
  • 12/16/20- Officer Jason Shuping, Concord, N.C., shot and killed intervening in a carjacking

January, 2021

February, 2021

  • 2/1/21- Lt. Michael Boutte, Hancock County, MS., shot and killed responding to an attempted suicide
  • 2/2/21- FBI Special Agent Laura Schwartzenberger, shot and killed serving an arrest warrant in Sunrise, FL.
  • 2/2/21- FBI Special Agent Daniel Alfin, shot and killed serving an arrest warrant in Sunrise, FL.
  • 2/4/21- Officer Darian Jarrott shot and killed during a traffic stop in Luna County, N.M.
  • 2/13/21- Officer Mitchell Penton, Dallas, TX., struck and killed by drunk driver
  • 2/17/21- Dep. Sheriff Michael Magli, Pinellas County, FL., struck and killed by drunk driver
  • 2/21/21- Lt. Eugene Lasco, Michigan City, IN., stabbed to death by prison inmate
  • 2/25/21- Dep. Sheriff Thomas Albanese, Los Angeles, CA., motorcycle crash
  • 2/26/21- Reserve Dep. Constable Martinus Mitchum, New Orleans, LA., shot and killed during disturbance at basketball game.
  • 2/26/21- Officer Dominic Winum, Stanley, VA., shot and killed during traffic stop

March, 2021

April, 2021

May, 2021

June, 2021

July, 2021

  • 7/7/21- Det. Greg Ferency, Terre Haute, IN., shot and killed after a suspect threw Molotov cocktail at building Ferency was in
  • 7/9/21- Dep. William Collins, Doyline, LA., shot and killed responding to domestic disturbance
  • 7/15/21- Sgt. Josh Bartlett, Lubbock County, TX., shot and killed during standoff with reckless driver
  • 7/23/21- Sgt. Jeremy Brown, Clark County, WA., shot and killed while conducting surveillance of apartment complex.
  • 7/25/21- Dep. Sheriff Phillip Campas, Kern County, CA., shot and killed after responding to shooting call
  • 7/27/21- Officer Marquis Moorer, Selma, AL., ambushed and shot to death
  • 7/27/21- Officer Ryan Bialke, shot and killed on Red Lake Nation Land responding to attempted suicide
  • 7/29/21- Trooper Micah May, Nevada Highway Patrol killed by vehicle in Las Vegas
  • 7/31/21- Border Patrol Agent Daniel Cox, Sells, AZ., died in car crash
  • 7/31/21- Officer Andy Traylor, Austin, TX., car crash

August, 2021 (as of August 12, 2021)

Update: Since August 7th, we have lost an additional 38 members of law enforcement in the line of duty. This does not include those who suffered heart attacks or died of other natural causes. 

They are: 

August 2021

  • 8/15/21- Sergeant Ryan Proxmire, Kalamazoo County, MI, shot and killed during pursuit.  
  • 8/17/21- Officer Jason Raynor, Daytona Beach, FL, shot by a man he was questioning in a parking lot. 
  • 8/22/21- Trooper James Monda, New York State Police, accidental drowning
  • 8/26/21- Officer Harminder Grewal, Galt, CA, automobile crash
  • 8/26/21- Correctional Officer Whitney Cloud, Florida DOC, inadvertent gunfire.

September 2021

  • 9/15/21- Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans, Independence, MO, shot and killed responding to a call. 
  • 9/17/21- Lieutenant John Stewart, Lake City, SC, crash during vehicle pursuit
  • 9/20/21/- Officer William Jeffrey, Houston, TX, shot and killed while serving a felony warrant. 
  • 9/23/21- Deputy Luke Gross, Hancock County, ME, struck by vehicle
  • 9/25/21- Deputy Matthew Locke, Hardin County, TN, shot and killed
  • 9/26/21- Deputy Joshua Moyers, Nassau County, FL, murdered during a traffic stop. 

October 2021

  • 10/1/21- Inspector Jared Keyworth, Florence, MS, auto collision during enforcement mission. 
  • 10/2/21- Sergeant Nick Risner, Sheffield, AL, killed in a shootout with auto theft suspect. 
  • 10/2/21- Officer Darrell Adams, Memphis, TN, struck and killed by vehicle while investigating an accident.
  • 10/4/21- Supervisor Michael Garbo, Tucson, AZ, shot while inspecting an Amtrak train. 
  • 10/6/21- Deputy Dale Wyman, Hardeman County, TN, vehicle accident responding to a scene.
  • 10/9/21- Corporal Dylan Harrison, Alamo, GA, shot outside the police station. 
  • 10/9/21- Trooper Adam Gaubert, Prairieville, LA, shot and killed in an ambush.  
  • 10/11/21- Sergeant Michael Rudd, Quartzite, AZ, vehicle pursuit
  • 10/11/21- Deputy Juan Miguel Ruiz, Avondale, AZ, beaten to death by a prisoner.
  • 10/11/21- Correctional Officer Toamalama Scanlan, Fresno County, CA, shot and killed at a jail facility. 
  • 10/16/21- Deputy Constable Kareem Atkins, Houston, TX, ambushed outside a bar. 
  • 10/16/21- Officer Yandy Chirino, Hollywood, FL, shot by burglary suspect. 
  • 10/17/21- Officer Ryan Hayworth, Knightdale, NC, patrol car struck by a drunk driver.
  • 10/20/21- Trooper Ted Benda, Pottsville, IA, auto accident responding to assist other officers. 
  • 10/25/21- Officer Stephen Evans, Burns, KS, auto accident while on duty. 
  • 10/26/21- Officer Tyler Timmins, Pontoon Beach, IL, shot while investigating a stolen vehicle. 
  • 10/28/21- Staff Sergeant Jesse Sherrill, Portsmouth NH, struck by 18-wheeler

November 2021

  • 11/4/21- Senior Patrolman Sherman Benys, Jr., Kingsville, TX, shot responding to a domestic disturbance call. 
  • 11/8/21- Deputy Lena Marshall, Jackson County, GA, shot and killed responding to a call. 
  • 11/8/21- Officer Paramhans Desai, Henry County, GA, shot and killed responding to a call.
  • 11/10/21- Lieutenant Chad Brackman, Scottsdale, AZ, struck by vehicle while directing traffic. 
  • 11/13/21- Officer Michael Chandler, Big Stone Gap, VA, shot while performing a welfare check. 
  • 11/18/21- Deputy Frank Ramirez, Jr., Batesville, MO, vehicle accident
  • 11/30/21- Officer Henry Laxson, Rex, GA, shot responding to domestic disturbance call. 

December 2021

  • 12/1/21- Constable Madison Nicholson, Yellow Bluff, AL, shot and killed responding to domestic disturbance call. 
  • 12/1/21- Detective Antonio Valentine, St. Louis County, MO, killed in head-on collision with a fleeing suspect. 
  • 12/3/21- Officer Richard Houston, Mesquite, TX, shot and killed

Defund the police is only one part of why a good number of these officers are dead. Anti-police rhetoric, painting all police officers as systemically racist, claiming that officers go out deliberately hunting down minorities has led to officers having a bullseye on them.

For as many of our brave police officers who have been killed, thousands more than that have been injured or maimed since last May, primarily due to anti-police rhetoric coming from Democrats.

Look at the above list…say their names. They’re the heroes…not a drug addict from Minnesota.

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