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Dad not surprised seafaring son tried to help mugging victim

Kyle Bruner

Kyle Bruner

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Updated: May 13, 2013 11:22AM

Sometimes girlfriends would try to lure Kyle Bruner to a life on land.

But the sea always pulled him back.

“We’ve got pictures of him hanging off the bow chains of one of the ships, and him reaching down to touch the water so the dolphins riding the waves could come up and hit his hand,” said his father, Rick Bruner, who lives on the Northwest Side — his son’s home base.

Images of Kyle Bruner, 34, clambering up the rigging or touching dolphins, brought solace to Rick Bruner, a day after his seafaring son was shot to death while coming to the aid of a woman in Nassau, the Bahamian capital.

Rick Bruner said he and his wife, Ginny Bruner, know few of the details of the killing. They just know they received a call from a woman at the U.S. Embassy early Sunday — Mother’s Day.

Bahamian police say Kyle Bruner was apparently shot in the neck early Sunday on a Nassau street while trying to stop robbers from stealing a woman’s jewelry. One man was in custody, and police were searching for two others.

Rick Bruner wasn’t surprised to learn his son had intervened.

“He never tolerated bullies, and he never tolerated seeing someone being bullied,” the father said.

Kyle Bruner was born in Maryland. At a young age, he became fascinated by the maps, charts and knots in his father’s blue, leather-bound books about sailing.

And although Bruner would become a special education teacher and an artillery man in the National Guard, he couldn’t resist the lure of the sea and its swelling waves.

He started out volunteering as a boatswain on a replica tall ship on the West Coast. His father said he’d been sailing for about seven years.

“It was not uncommon for us to get a phone call from him when he was on a beach near Monterey (Calif.), and they’d just lit a bonfire and they had clams and crabs over the fire,” his father said.

Bruner was most recently a mate on the 125-foot schooner “Liberty Clipper.” The vacation cruise tall ship spends the winters cruising the Caribbean, his father said, but was set to return in about a week to Boston, its home port.

Rick Bruner said his son loved the sea life, but had grown weary of the low pay.

“This winter, he realized he wasn’t going to be able to stay away from the sea because it always pulled him back,” Bruner said. “He decided that if he was going to have a future on the ocean, he had to become a captain.”

Rick Bruner said had made known his wishes should he die unexpectedly: A cremation, and his ashes scattered at sea.

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