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For 2nd Time in 3 Weeks Man Pulls a Gun on Flagler Deputies, But No Arrest This Time

| September 7, 2018

A video still from a deputy's body cam showing Bruce Bruce pointing a gun at deputies at his door the morning of Sept. 3. Deputies had gone to his house to check on him after reports that he may have been suicidal.

A video still from a deputy’s body cam showing Bruce Bruce pointing a gun at deputies at his door the morning of Sept. 3. Deputies had gone to his house to check on him after reports that he may have been suicidal.

Note: foul language below.

On August 16, Alphonso Brooks was pulled over as he drove through Bunnell for a traffic violation. Then a K-9 unit was brought in and allegedly alerted deputies to the presence of drugs in Brooks’s car. There would turn out to be no drugs. But Brooks was asked to exit the car so it could be searched. As he did so he appeared to reach for a gun. A deputy immediately rushed him and immobilized him against the car as other cops drew their weapons in a brief but extremely tense moment.

As they had on numerous previous occasions in the past five and a half years, sheriff’s deputies held their fire and defused the situation. What could have been a police-involved shooting turned into a basic arrest. A .32-caliber American Arms gun and five rounds of ammunition, kept separately, were recovered at the scene.

Brooks was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, aggravated assault on a police officer, carrying a concealed firearm and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. He was jailed on $50,000 bond, posted bail the next day and went home to Palatka. He’s to be arraigned on Aug. 24, but the aggravated assault change and carrying a concealed weapon charge were dropped.

Early the morning of Sept. 3, Flagler deputies had yet another close call with an armed man who, in this case, came out of his house unmistakably pointing a gun at the deputies. Somehow, the deputies did not shoot, and again the situation was defused without harm to anyone.

But despite pointing a gun at deputies, Bruce Bruce (he has the same first and last name), the 33-year-old man in the incident, was not arrested or charged with any crime.

“There are significant differences between those two cases,” Sheriff’s Chief Mark Strobridge said after reviewing the written documentation. “The one thing that carries through both cases, the deputies did a heroic job in both cases, showing great restraint, no lives were lost. Where they are dissimilar is you have a person in public who is a convicted felon with a gun.” That would be Brooks. “The other person is on their own property, startled, and was compliant throughout the entire process. It is really an apples to oranges comparison.”

Watch the Incident: Bruce Bruce v. Deputies

The deputies involved in the second case concluded that Bruce came to the door with his gun raised but without knowing who was at his door–though the deputies had identified themselves–and had been groggy.

“You have to be able to evaluate the merits of the actions taken by the potential subject, and if it doesn’t rise to the level of criminal action, then they certainly acted appropriately,” Strobridge said of the deputies not charging the second man. “But this is truly another situation where the deputies did an excellent job de-escalation the situation, not causing harm to anybody involved, because the legislature has made it quite clear, it’s OK for you to defend yourself.”

Bruce, however, was not defending himself: the deputies had shown no aggression-neither in their voice nor in the way they’d knocked on his door. They did not have their guns drawn. There had been no indication of anything amiss, other than a knock at the door at 4 a.m.

And Bruce, too, had faced criminal charges on two previous occasions, including resisting an officer, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and drug trafficking, the sort of history deputies usually pay attention to out of caution, though all the charges were dropped. Deputies were also made aware that Bruce had been the subject of a weapons complaint earlier this year.

The outcome may have been the result of the Sheriff’s Office not wanting to contend with a Stand Your Ground case, though individuals who brandish firearms, even on their property, are usually charged. Strobridge briefly alluded to the law, but said he would not speculate about it, or its application in this case, since he is not a lawyer.

The Bruce incident started at 2:44 a.m. the morning of Sept. 3 when the 911 dispatch center got a call from a woman at European Village in Palm Coast who said her boyfriend had called her and told her he was going to drive off a bridge. She was referring to Bruce, who lives on a property off State Road 11. The 911 caller was not cooperative, refusing to provide much information as she asked law enforcement to check local bridges. A deputy reached his mother, who would not provide his address, but authorities were able to ping and geo-locate Bruce at his State Road 11 home–the same home that had been the subject of a weapons complaint from a neighbor in February, who’d heard gunshots there.

Deputies concluded that they should check on Bruce and possibly Baker Act him, invoking the law that gives deputies authority to seize a person for psychiatric evaluation at a health care facility in Daytona Beach if the person shows signs of self-harm, or intent to harm others.

Deputies Aaron Beausoleil and Jason Prather were first at Bruce’s property. “Upon my arrival, Deputy Beausoleil and I walked down the driveway to the residence. I walked up the front porch to the front door and knocked on the door,” Prather reported in a Sept. 5 incident report. “After hearing no response I knocked again. I then knocked a third time and heard someone moving about inside. I heard a loud, unintelligible voice and I announced ‘Sheriff’s Office.’ I heard the voice continue talking so I announced ‘Sheriff’s Office’ again. The door then opened and Bruce Bruce rapidly exited the residence with a handgun.” The scene is picked up by a deputy’s body cam, with the deputies heard clearly identifying themselves at least twice as they knocked on Bruce’s door.

After dropping his gun inside, Bruce Bruce comes out with his arms raised, protesting.

After dropping his gun inside, Bruce Bruce comes out with his arms raised, protesting.

Bruce’s arm was immediately raised, his gun at one instant pointed directly at deputies after he opened the door, uttering an expletive. Beausolei described him as opening the door “in an aggressive manner,” as he “began waving a small black handgun in the air.”

Deputies screamed for him to disarm. “Drop the gun, drop the gun,” and “show me your hands.”

“I was positioned approximately 20′ away from the front door, and drew my agency issued Glock 22c,” Beausoleil wrote in a Sept. 6 report, “and gave loud verbal commands for Bruce to drop the firearm and to get onto the ground.”

Bruce complied within moments, coming back out, unarmed, his hands in the air, but himself yelling: “This is private property, What the fuck?” His dog had walked out the door, and as he crouched he briefly reached for him then sprawled on the ground as a deputy screams at him, “what the hell is wrong with you?”

“I was sleeping, what the fuck,” was Bruce’s answer.

“Put your hands behind your back. Put your hands behind your back. You almost just got shot, d’you realize that?” a deputy yells at him.

“I don’t give a fuck,” he tells them, “what the fucks are you guys doing here?” He couldnl’t understand how the deputies had gotten through a locked gate.

Bruce then placed the firearm inside of the residence by the front door, and then complied and was then secured on the front porch.” He was handcuffed for a short time as deputies explained the situation to him. He said “he only came out with a gun because he was not sure who was outside of his residence,” a deputy reported. “After further conversation with Bruce, it was determined he did not meet baker act criteria.”

Deputy Duenas Confronts Alphonso Brooks, Aug. 15, 2018

He was released.

“Those deputies used great restraint, and what could have been a very tragic situation, was not,” Strobridge said. “I’m sleeping between 2 and 4 a.m. and I’m not expecting anybody to show up at my house between 2 and 4 a.m. I think there’s a significant difference in the amount of awareness in the individual’s head.” In the Alfonso Brooks case, Strobridge continued, he was “fully awake, fully aware, driving down the road. The presumption is they have 100 percent of their faculties as they’re driving down the road, because you’re not supposed to be intoxicated while you’re driving, that’s an assumption, and you’re not supposed to be sleeping.”

Strobridge said nobody should maliciously point a gun at anybody else, “ever, it doesn’t matter who they are,” and while deputies train for the kind of restraint they showed in both incidents, “a person’s actions have consequences every time. In this particular case it appears he was compliant, he did everything he was told to do during this entire process. A hothead would not have been there, would not have been compliant, would have continued to be an additional threat and quite possibly in that situation lost their life, because there are consequences to everything that we do, and sometimes they’re very sad, you as you know.”

If an armed individual is less compliant, Strobridge said: “I promise you this, that if somebody comes out of their house and they start shooting, they are going to lose every time.” That’s not been happening. Strobridge said Sheriff Rick Staly “is very proud in both those cases that everybody was able to put their heads on a pillow and go to sleep, and all of our deputies were able to go home, as they should. It’s awesome that a life was not taken.”

15 Responses for “For 2nd Time in 3 Weeks Man Pulls a Gun on Flagler Deputies, But No Arrest This Time”

  1. thomas says:

    The Deputies are taking too many chances.In both cases they should have shot the idiots.
    The long term results of this misplaced mercy will be fatal.

  2. Born and Raised Here says:

    Known this guy and his family for years, since he was a kid. He was always getting in trouble with the law. Such a shame because in family were law abiding.

  3. palmcoaster says:

    He is very lucky that we have excellent and very compassionate and humane Sheriff Deputies. But when enough is enough with this bully? Please our brave deputies be very careful out there!

  4. Concerned Citizen says:

    So an African American male gets profiled then stopped by the SO and goes to jail with a slew of charges. A Caucasian male answers the door with a gun and gets released with no charges. Sounds about right for this good ol boy county.

    With racist deputies and an inept Sheriff and Command staff these incidents are really piling up. Thank goodness the deputies involved aren’t too trigger happy. Or are body cameras helping with that?

    Word to the wise pointing a weapon at a cop is never a good idea. Most of the time it ends up with a deadly decision on the cops part.

    Even if you are right fight it in court and not on the street.

  5. for real says:

    I respect and appreciate our sheriffs, but if they wake me up at 4 AM for no reason, they will be greeted the same way. Why were they there knocking on his door at 4 am?

  6. Marshall says:

    so how did the deputies get through a locked gate?

  7. Shark says:

    So let’s get this story straight – You pull over a car for a traffic violation – bring in the K-9 and do a search without probable cause and search his car without probable cause. Case dismissed !!!!!! Who trained these clowns – Barney Fife???

  8. blondee says:

    @for real did you even read the article? It clearly states why they were there.

  9. Willy Boy says:

    That was conveniently omitted from the police reports. Thankfully, they didn’t shoot the dogs.

  10. Dave says:

    Why and how were they able to “ping” this person for no real reason, somehow they decide to Baker act him? What cause a girl said something wacky in a report? Idk seems like too much over nothing, then no action taken, and I totally dont understand how the gentleman got his car searched but nothing showed up, is the dog messing up or the human? Idk

  11. Sick of it all says:

    Racism at its best

  12. FlaglerBear says:

    There are a multitude of reasons that the police go to peoples homes at 4 Am. Most are not good. Let’s say your car was stolen and recovered while you were asleep and they are notifying you as required by law. What if a distant relative has passed away in the middle of the night and they are performing what is called a “locate and notify”? At any rate, if the homeowner is not sure who is there, the COMMON SENSE approach would have been to pick up the phone and dial 9-1-1. The Sheriffs Department will tell you that it’s a deputy at your door…or not. If not, stay put and deputies will be dispatched. It’s really as simple as that. Screaming, yelling, cursing, and answering the door with a loaded firearm like a maniac serves absolutely no purpose other than to create hostile feelings. But I would suspect those feelings were already there on the part of the homeowner long before those deputies showed up. And the common sense part was apparently also never there. Very sad. He’s lucky to be alive.

  13. A Concerned Observer says:

    A respondent to this article ponders why the resident was he not arrested? The answer is simple. Arming oneself at that hour with someone banging on door to your home is not illegal. The first prudent action would be to call 911 and explain to the operator where you are, who you are and what is happening. They will know if law enforcement has been dispatched to that address and will advise you how to react properly. If it is not law enforcement personnel at the door, there will be several officers dispatched immediately to help protect you from whoever is outside your door. They will do so at their own peril. That’s what they do! This residents choice of action was not really a good idea. He should have at a minimum looked first to see who it was first before opening the door. Had the resident seen police at the door, it would not be reasonable or prudent open the door with a gun in hand. My question in this instance is why was he not shot? Our law enforcement officers across the country are hesitating because of the widespread media fed frenzy from people not following instructions of officers, fighting with officers and in some cases, even trying to grab the officers weapon and suffering the consequences. This hesitation will get officers killed.

    It’s simple. If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer, be courteous; do not do anything that will make the officer fear for his or her life and most importantly DO WHAT THEY SAY. So many people seem to have a huge chip on their shoulder and feel it is their right to disobey all instructions and fight or flee rather than comply. Do they think it is a sign of weakness to comply? I don’t know. Once an officer instructs you to do something or to stop doing something, there is no option. If you refuse, the officer has no choice but to escalate until you comply. If you respond by further escalating the situation, the officer has no choice to ratchet up another notch. The officer will win in the end; they have to. If you have done nothing wrong and you are compliant, you will be on your way with little if any negative result. Every instance I have experienced personally where a Flagler Sheriff’s Office Deputy has had to approach someone, they have been polite and non-threatening in the extreme. Maybe that approach gives the other person a feeling of empowerment over a weaker foe. Believe me that is not the case. They are acting as they have been trained to act. Give them a break. They will respond in kind.

  14. sam says:

    Great job guys you should teach the rest of the United States how to deescalate situations instead of shooting someone when not fired upon, no need to take a life.

  15. Bill says:

    Not doing your job officer will cost somebody thier life.

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