Village Green Companies Complaint - Hero fired from Village Greens for saving a Woman's life

Review by Stevens321 on 2007-06-19
I'm trying to get the word out. When companies like Village Greens choose money over resident safety, it's no wonder real estate is going bust. What happened in Jacksonville 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

By Jim Schoettler, The Times-Union

The 24-year-old grabbed a gun before going to help his neighbor who had been shot.

When a neighbor screamed she'd been shot, Colin Bruley grabbed his shotgun, found the victim and began treating her bloodied right leg.

Tonnetta Lee survived Tuesday's pre-dawn shooting at her Jacksonville apartment, and her sister and a neighbor praised Bruley's actions. But his employers, the same people who own the Arlington complex where Bruley lives, reacted differently. They fired him.

Bruley, a leasing agent at the Oaks at Mill Creek, said he lost his job after being told that brandishing the weapon was a workplace violation, as was failing to notify supervisors after the incident occurred. He'd worked at the Monument Road complex since December and for the owner, Village Green Cos., since 2005.

Bruley said he was too shaken to call his supervisor immediately after the incident, which occurred just before 2 a.m., but planned to eventually do so. He also said he was acting as a citizen, not an employee, and shouldn't have been punished for trying to protect himself and others. He never fired the shotgun.

"I was expecting work to give me some kind of commendation," said Bruley, 24. "I was totally blown back. It was a crisis that most people don't go through."

Andrea Roebker, the company's director of public relations, said "We're not in a position to discuss any employment issues outside of [with] the employee.

She declined to comment further, citing confidentiality rules.

A complaint Bruley said was given to him by his supervisor Tuesday said he violated several company policies found in an employee handbook. Those procedures were also explained in a recent meeting and an e-mail, the complaint said. One policy prohibits any type of weapons being used in the workplace. The complaint cited him for "gross misconduct."

"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."

A police report said the shooting followed a domestic quarrel involving Lee, 24, and her boyfriend. Bruley said he was dozing off in his apartment when he heard Lee's screams. He said he then grabbed a 12-gauge shotgun he uses for protection and hunting.

Bruley said he found the woman bleeding heavily. He handed the shotgun to a neighbor, tied a tourniquet around her right leg and waited for police and rescue to arrive.

"I was kind of in a state of shock. I had blood all over my body," Bruley said.

After emergency officials took Lee to the hospital, Bruley returned to his apartment and tried to settle down, eventually falling asleep. He said he could have called his supervisor but didn't think she could do anything at the time. He said he was called into the office about 9:30 a.m., gave his account and then left. He said he was called back that afternoon and told he was fired.

Neighbor Kevin Courson joined Bruley at the crime scene when he saw Bruley had a gun for protection. Courson said he is incensed by the dismissal.

"Here was a guy trying to do a good deed. He wasn't trying to hurt nobody," said Courson, 31.

Erica Jenkins, Lee's sister, said Bruley should still have a job. Lee couldn't be reached to comment despite several messages left with her sister and mother.

"If it wasn't for him ... she could have lost her leg or died," said Jenkins, 19. "He put his life in jeopardy for someone else."

Bruley said he is considering contacting a lawyer about his dismissal, but will first look for another job and possibly another home. He promises he won't shy away from aiding others in need.

"If I'd lose my job again for helping some girl's life ... I'd do it over and over," Bruley said.

jim.schoettler@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4385
Comments:8 Replies - Latest reply on 2007-06-21
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-06-19:
To bad it was not your boss at Village Green that got shot. Wonder if you would have gotten fired if one of the idiot managers had been shot?
Posted by Arlene on 2007-06-19:
Personally, I'd have done the same thing, he had no idea what he was walking into, the gunman could have still been there! The boss is a total a** for this one.
Posted by Slimjim on 2007-06-19:
I usually will be quick to point out why corporations have to have policies and the such. Of course, brandishing a weapon is a terminal offense at just about any job. That being said however, I wouldn't have done anything different, and I can't imagine why the employer would expect otherwise. Someone yells they've been shot, and the guy's suppose to go check it out and leave his gun? I don't think so.
Posted by Nohandle on 2007-06-19:
Slim, I agree completely with what you stated. I haven't looked at articles from the Jacksonville newspapers yet, and Stevens, I have no reason to doubt what you have reported. Not that it really matters, but was this guy even on duty at the time? It will come to the point when no one wants to become involved in aiding in any situation. Turn a blind eye if you will. Bruley should be commended for assisting someone, not fired.
Posted by Starlord on 2007-06-19:
I don't believe a leasing agent would be on duty at 2:00 AM, so the actions he took were as a private citizen, and not an employee. In my opinion, he did just the right thing, and the victim should be thankful for people like this.
Posted by Balboamijia on 2007-06-20:
I would have expected nothing less from Colin. He has always been the type of individual that would go above and beyond for his residents. When he left his Michigan community to transfer to the Florida property, residents would continously comment on how much his presence was missed. He was a top 10 Sales performer for the company and apon his release he was #1 in two of the regions that Village Green operated in. The "We Care" philosphy obviously has it's limitations. "We care"....BUT, we would prefer it be from a distance and involve as little community outreach as possible. Attention Owner of The Oaks @ Mill Creek- SHOP FOR A NEW MANAGEMENT COMPANY, preferably one with a heart. As a friend of Colins, I am very proud! As an ex employee of Village Green- They didn't think you'd come forward and their reputation will never be the same again!! Rightfully So.
Posted by rhondam718732 on 2007-06-21:
100% agreement Starlord. He works there and also lives there. At some point he is off the clock since he's a leasing agent and not a building engineer. His right to brandish a gun is his personal right. How can they consider him on duty 100% of his time. And why should he risk being killed if he has protection and wants to bring it to save someone's life. This whole story stinks and I hope he sues the pants off these idiots.
Posted by rhondam718732 on 2007-06-21:
And I almost forgot to mention that their claim COlin should have reported the incident to his supervisor after it happened is trivial. Don't they have a building maintenance/engineer person who is on-duty and has access to supervisors at all hours? Why is it up to a leasing agent to do so? And the way this company works it sound slike they would have just ended up firing Colin earlier that day had he told them earlier...ha

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