Last week we introduced you to Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River.
We’re here to explore the river with two of our morning anchors, Andrew Wittenberg and Shara Park. And, it also gave us a chance to check in on Utah State Parks river ranger Brody Young.
(off air check) a major man hunt near moab today. The search was suspended due to darkness tonight after searchers spent all day scouring a rugged area adjacent to the Colorado River for a man who shot a Utah State Parks ranger.
(Brody Young, Utah State Parks ranger) If you don’t know the story. A couple of years ago I was ambushed and shot and my life was on the line and fortunately through the grace of the almighty and a lot of training, I was able to come out of it. And to get back to what I was doing before and that was always a goal.
On the evening of November 19th, 2010, Brody was shot nine times while checking on the well being a camper at the Poison Spider Mesa trail head. Forty year old Lance Leeroy Arellano, ambushed Brody as he returned to his patrol truck and left Brody for dead.
(Brody) I almost died. took nine rounds and lost more blood that what your body holds.
Near death, Brody was able to regain consciousness and crawl to his vehicle to radio for help. The nearest officer was 20 miles away.
(Brody) a lot of people were on their A game. The helicopter, the medical teams, the doctors in Grand Junction, just a lot of things had to go right for me to live. I have some bullets in just the right spots. Where everything is important, where they settled, I just… I shouldn’t be alive and I am.
Arellano, also wounded in the exchange of gunfire, fled to an area near the river and has never been seen or heard from again.
(Brody) He could still be out there, he could still be alive, it’s kind of a mystery, he disappeared. You know it’s still an open case and it probably will be until he is found and so. Would I like some closure to it? Yeah it would be nice to close that chapter but honestly up here I’ve closed it, I can move on. and it came from finding a peace. That I could still do what I do, be normal without looking over my shoulder.
(boater) have fun down there, be safe. Thanks! See you later Brody. Have a good one.
Brody is now back working on the river and has no plans of ever leaving the area.
(Brody) That’s where I found, well I found two loves. I found the river and I found my wife. She was my river guide and then I pursued the trade and we take our own family now. We have three kids and river is our love, that’s why we are still in Moab.
Brody duties now include more than just a river ranger. He is Utah State Parks Assistant boating program manager and he also gives motivational speeches about his ability to overcome.
(Brody) that is one big wave. I love looking at the red wall every time.
Brody’s love of the river never waiver, but now he says, the shooting has made him realize what’s most important in life.
(brody) it’s God, family and friends. The relationships we have with people. That’s extremely important to me now, it is now. it was before, but it’s refined I guess I would have to say.
(Brody) and boy society really affirmed my faith in society. We heard from people as far as South Africa that were concerned and sent letters, money and thoughts and prayers. it was pretty remarkable. The world is still a great place to live in.