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Injured park ranger speaks with police

Published December 22, 2010 11:37 pm

Moab • Brody Young doesn't remember much of his gun battle .
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Of the two men who know what happened at the bottom of the Poison Spider Mesa trail outside Moab last month, one may be dead and the other simply cannot remember.

A month after the shootout that almost took his life, state park ranger Brody Young has had his feeding and tracheal tubes removed, allowing him to speak with police.

But it may yet be awhile before much more of Young's story is known.

"After the first couple of shots, he kind of went into a state of shock," said Grand County Sheriff Jim Nyland, whose investigators spoke with Young in a Grand Junction, Colo., hospital earlier this week. "He doesn't claim to remember a whole lot after that."

Young was able to relay a few details of the Nov. 19 encounter.

It was after 8 p.m., when Young spotted the silver Pontiac in the darkened parking lot and told the man inside that camping was not allowed in the area.

He asked for identification, but the man had none. He gave Young a fake name and birthdate and, when Young began walking to his truck to check the information, the man shot him in the back. It was the first of several wounds Young sustained.

Young hardly remembers writing the man's information on his notepad, and he does not remember the ensuing gunfight, during which Young emptied his firearm, reloaded and continued to fire at his attacker, wounding him in the leg.

"He doesn't understand how he did what he did being in that state," Nyland said. "His memory just hasn't come back yet."

Police wanted to wait longer to interview Young but did so Monday at the request of doctors who want to begin a rehabilitation program to help restore Young's memory.

Young was listed in fair condition at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction this week, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Nyland said Young's recovery has been miraculous. The 34-year-old was shot at least three times in the gunbattle.

"He's getting better all the time. That's just amazing," Nyland said. "I've been shot once [in Vietnam]. I know kind of how that feels, and it ain't good."

Deputies have stopped searching the desert area outside Moab, where a manhunt for Young's attacker has produced no results.

Lance Leeroy Arellano, 40, has been charged with attempted murder in the shooting.

"I'm assuming he's out there somewhere probably dead," said Nyland, who will retire as the county's longtime sheriff in January. "I'd like to be able to finish out the investigation, but I've got some good people working on it."

afalk@sltrib.com —

Reward announced

Law enforcement officials on Wednesday announced a reward of up to $30,000 for information leading to an arrest or recovery of the person who shoot Brody Young.

Lance Leeroy Arellano,40, has been charged in the shooting. He is described as 6-foot-1, 165 pounds. He has long black hair and hazel eyes.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Grand County Sheriff's Office at 435-259-8115. To date, Grand County Sheriff JimNyland said his office has not received a single tip concerning Arellano's whereabouts.






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