Those of you who have followed this blog for some time have seen the posts and links describing the story of Brody Young, a Utah State Park Ranger who on November 19th was shot nine times by a suspect he thought needed assistance.
The suspect, Lance Leeroy Arellano, has still not been located and is either at large or succumbed to his injuries and still in the immediate area.
This link will take you to a televised interview with Brody Young, his first since the incident.
Young’s description of his initial contact with the suspect sounds like a scenario faced by park rangers hundreds of times a day across the country. A vehicle parked where it should not be that time of night at a trail head. As a park ranger Young’s first thoughts were that someone needed help. Was someone injured or lost on the trail? Even when Young found Arellano sleeping in the back seat his intent was to direct him to somewhere he could camp legally. It was when Young walked back toward his vehicle that Arellano opened fire with a rifle eventually hitting Young nine times. Brody returned fire with his pistol and judging from blood left at the scene and in the suspect’s car (later found eight miles away) seriously wounded his attacker. The suspect, Lance Leeroy Arellano, has still not been located and is either at large or succumbed to his injuries and still in the immediate area.
The other part of this story is the one of Brody Young’s will to survive. I remember during officer survival training learning that retaining a positive attitude and emotional need to live can be critical to the ability of a wounded person to survive. In the interview you will hear how Brody’s thoughts of his family and will to live kept him going.
Young also talks about his “training kicking in” once his life was on the line. This lesson should bring home the importance of defensive and firearms training in addition to mental preparation to confront a life threatening situation. Park Rangers always need to stay aware and remember that they initially never really know who they are talking to.
The story of Brody Young’s brush with death is an inspiring one that we can all learn from. His and his family’s positive attitude facing such adversity is an additional example to us all. I have to say that Brody sounds like one hell of a man.