MOAB, Utah – Utah park ranger Brody Young, who nearly lost his life in a Moab shootout more than five years ago, says he finally has some closure. In December, Caleb Shumway found the remains of Lance Leeroy Arellano in a narrow cave in Grand County.
Young spoke publicly at the Poison Spider Mesa trail head near Moab Thursday. That’s the site where he got into a violent shootout with Arellano on November 19, 2010.
“We had a conversation, he was very calm, casual, told him he couldn't camp here,” Young said of their exchange.
Young asked for his name. Arellano told him it was Michael Oher, an NFL player featured in the film "The Blind Side."
“It's a little ironic," Young said. "I was about to get blindsided, maybe that was the hint, I don't know.”
As Young walked back to his truck to verify Arellano’s info, he says Arellano opened fire on him, striking him nine times.
“Hits me in the humerus... first, I turn away because of the shock, my arm hits me in the face, and that's when the other rounds came: Boom, boom, boom,” Young recalled.
Young was knocked to the ground, but managed to get up and fire shots at Arellano through the truck.
Young said: “He came to the front of my truck, I moved up, and he raised his hands and said: 'You got me.'"
Young fell unconscious. Arellano drove off, eventually ditched his car off the beaten path and was never seen again.
“I woke up a short time later and realized, man, no one knew I was here, I haven't called out on the radio," Young said.
Help arrived, and Young was flown to a Colorado hospital. He woke up from a coma nearly a month later, and he eventually made a full recovery.
“There's still four bullets and a lot of fragments of shrapnel in me," Young said. "I have a rod in this arm."
Emotional wounds are healing for Young, too. The discovery of Arellano’s remains on Christmas Eve finally solves the mystery.
“I was really emotional," Young said of the discovery. "I didn't think it was going to get solved. I thought he was gone forever. Alive or dead, but gone.”
Young says he forgives Arellano and hopes his mother and daughter can find some closure. The park ranger also thanked the dozens of law enforcement personnel who assisted in the search for countless hours, never giving up on solving the mystery.