Florida Apartment Leasing Agent Fired For Saving Woman’s Life

WTF?Wow, talk about a disconnect between movies and television from real life. According to a story (also here) that’s been all over the radio this morning, a man “brandishing” a shotgun saved a womans life and was rewarded for his efforts by being fired from his job.

His name is Colin Bruley (random aside: it’s hard to say that without thinking about Fight Club), and he lived and worked as a leasing agent for the Oaks at Mill Creek apartment complex in Jacksonville, Florida. He heard a woman screaming in the middle of the night. Instead of covering his head with a pillow, he grabbed one of his hunting guns and ran outside, to find a woman named Tonnetta Lee with a gunshot wound. Apparently he never used the gun, instead he spent his time giving first aid to the injured woman.

And here’s the punchline: He was fired for “Gross Misconduct”. From one article:

“Colin demonstrated extremely poor judgment in responding to this situation,” the complaint said. “Colin’s failure to immediately report this incident … could have serious ramifications to the property, its associates and residents.”

No matter what your opinion is regarding guns, compare this story with any action movie or television show you’ve seen in the last couple of years. This guy would clearly be the hero of the story, a regular John McClane or Jack Bauer, and the corporation owning the apartment complex (Village Green Companies) would clearly be the villian.

In reality, Colin Bruley is now out of work and out of home and getting little attention from the national media (just try searching for his name on Google News). And Village Green Companies has no comment. Well, I don’t care, Colin Bruley is a hero in my book, hopefully he will be in yours too.

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  1. Stevens said,

    June 19, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    You are absolutely right! What happened is such a disgrace. I called their office to let them know how I felt and they didn’t even pick up the phone. If anybody else wants to leave a message, here is the office contact info:

    Oaks at Mill Creek
    Ph: (904) 727-0898
    653 Monument Rd
    Jacksonville, FL 32225

    And here is their corporate info:

    Corporate Offices
    30833 Northwestern Hwy., Ste. 300
    Farmington Hills, MI 48334
    P: 248.851.9600
    F: 248.851.6161

    ‘You’re fired,’ man hears after saving a woman’s life

  2. Brian said,

    June 19, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Hi Stevens,

    Thanks for the comment! It absolutely boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

    Oh, and sorry for editing your comment, but it’s probably safer from a copyright perspective to link to the the story than to have the entire text of it on your blog!

  3. Joe Drinker said,

    June 19, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    I’d sue for my job back, and after I won the lawsuit and owned the place, I’d go in to the manager’s office, smile and give my two weeks’ notice.

    Stop to call a supervisor at 2AM when someone’s outside shot, screaming and bleeding? Right. They (the owners) could turn this into a publicity playground, and they can’t see the forest for the trees. They don’t deserve to have him.


  4. Brian said,

    June 19, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Hey JD,

    I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me that he’d have a pretty case for a lawsuit. Isn’t it amazing the obvious lengths his former employer went to to justify firing him? It’s as though they’re making an example of him to stress to other employees that under no circumstances should they ever come to the aid of a tenant. Screw ’em: they’re only customers.

    If I were an employer, I’d offer Mr. Bruley a job without another thought. He’s proven himself to be both dedicated and honorable, not to mention heroic. When he’s interviewing for a job, he should staple a copy of this news story to the back of his resume! Or maybe bring the story by itself without bothering with a resume.

    I could see the interview going a bit like this:

    Interviewer: Good afternoon, Mr. Bruley. What are your qualifications for this position?
    Bruley: I’m this guy. [Hands interviewer print out of article.]
    Interviewer: Oh… Oh! You’re hired, when can you start?

  5. Joe Drinker said,

    June 19, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Another thought: he could probably get hired on at any security company in the country though. Perhaps he should consider changing fields.


  6. Van Dempsey said,

    June 19, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    They arent making Andrea Roebker’s email address available on the Village Green website, but here it is:


    if you’d like to send her a few choice words about her company’s conduct in American society.

    I just sent this letter:
    Miss Roebker,

    I have just read the recent story of Colin Bruley’s actions, coming to the aid of his neighbor.

    You should have been proud to have had such an employee. I would like to have neighbors like him. Having myself once made the dangerous decision to likewise come to the aid of a woman being clearly assaulted out on the road in the middle of the night in front of my own home, I congratulate him on both his self-sacrificing courage, and his wisdom in doing so armed. In my own case I did similar, and it changed the mind of the attacker immediately. In fact, at first he didnt even realize I was armed and, hearing my demand that he stop kicking the woman in the ribs, he turned to come after me. My weapon saved myself (he was far larger than I), as well as saving her from suffering further injury.

    Bystanders saw the event, police arrived shortly thereafter, and at the end of it all I walked away with my weapon returned to me by police then and there while the attacker was arrested.

    Village Green has shamed itself, by punishing Colin Bruley. Besides, unless he was sleeping on the job, then he wasnt even on the job at the time as I understand it. Therefore, what he did he did on his own time, as a red-blooded American citizen.

  7. Brian said,

    June 20, 2007 at 10:30 am

    Thanks Van Dempsey- Thanks for the comment! I wonder how many letters, faxes and email the parent corporation is going to get from this. Based on the traffic I’m getting for this post, it looks like it might be a lot!

    Yeah, JD, I was kind of thinking the same thing. Either that, or he could be a bouncer, but that kind of seems beneath the guy now.

  8. Dawn said,

    June 20, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    As a family member to Colin, I sincerely thank everyone for their words of support. We were raised to help those in need and I’m proud of his selflessness to help his neighbor.

  9. Brian said,

    June 21, 2007 at 10:22 am

    You’re welcome Dawn. Thanks for your comment, you absolutely should be proud of Colin. Thank him for his actions from all of us (well, me, and the folks who left comments)!

  10. Felicia said,

    June 21, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    I live in the same Apartment Complex with Colin. He made me feel at home with his attitude. He has strong family values and always provided help when needed. He was dedicated to his company in all what he did (from picking up the trash from the driveway to put his life in danger to save a tenant’s life). His company doesn’t know yet what a wonderful human being and employee they just lost. I am very proud of Colin! So should have been Village Green!
    Thank you, Colin! You will be missed a lot!

  11. Brian said,

    June 23, 2007 at 12:25 am

    Thanks Felicia,

    Yeah, both the tenants and the company really lost out. If Colin acts quickly, he can probably pick any job he wants anywhere he wants!

  12. Donna said,

    January 7, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Hello, it sounds like this property made a very quick decision and should have perhaps given it a bit more thought and maybe provided Colin with alternative solutions. Though it is obvious his intentions were very good more than likely management was worried about what if it turned out differently and he accidently shot someone or was shot himself. Perhaps the fact that he had a loaded weapon on the property was not their idea of an appropriate marketing campaign. Unfortunately, as many people see him as a hero there were probably just as many residents that called the leasing office to complain that he was crazy and carrying a loaded weapon on the property! I can gaurantee you that at least one if not more of the residents called to have him terminated (feeling unsafe) as having a gun and an overly zealous desire to use it. Lawsuits are expensive and time consuming and Colin as most people are employees at will technically they don’t even need a reason to terminate him! Seriously, the best response is to call 911 and let the professionals handle it. Hopefully, this doesn’t get a lot of media attention if he wants to remain in leasing! It is a very small and intertwined niche and this could really hurt his ability to become gainfully employed with the competition. The unemployment rate is very high and the competition is tough! Colin I wish much success and would be glad to assisst you with your resume. I am a former recruiter and currently a leasing agent in New England. This is a very traumatic experience and could require some assistance in dealing with not just the job loss but the stress and trauma as well.

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