Family of wounded ranger thanks mother of wanted man for helping police
The family of the Grand County, Utah, lawman shot in a gunfight thanked the law enforcement and medical teams that helped him, and thanked the mother of a man sought in connection with the shooting.
The family of Utah parks ranger Brody Young issued a statement Monday thanking the mother “for coming forward with essential information to aid the authorities.”
Lance Leeroy Arellano, 40, who Grand County authorities have named as a person of interest in the investigation, has not worked in about 18 months and had been living with his mother, Sheriff Jim Nyland said.
Police have learned that Arellano has spent some time in the Moab area. “But we have no information that he knows the area well enough to really elude us,” Nyland said.
No information was available about what else the mother might have told authorities.
The search for Arellano is centered on a 15-square-mile area near Dead Horse Point State Park, which is about 10 miles southwest of Moab.
Young, 34, remained in critical condition at St. Mary’s Hospital after being shot three times in a shootout, which occurred Friday night after he stopped a vehicle near the Poison Spider Mesa trail head near the Colorado River. How the shootout began remained unclear.
A spokeswoman for the Utah State Parks and Recreation Department said it will be some time before Young is able to speak.
Authorities have confiscated and searched Arellano’s 1999 silver Pontiac Grand Am, which was found parked in the brush several miles south of the shooting site. Nyland said Monday that police matched fingerprints found in the car to Arellano.
“We consider this individual armed and dangerous. As we’re tracking him we have to keep that in mind — the security of the trackers — and we’re having to move pretty slow,” Nyland said at a news conference on Sunday.
Among the searchers are 15 members of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team, who joined the effort on Saturday morning, along with three other Sheriff’s Department staff members in supporting roles, two of them as volunteers.
The Mesa County contribution to the search is open-ended, spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said.
Young, according to officials with Utah State Parks and Recreation, was hired four years ago largely because of his river-rescue skills, Utah State Parks Southeast Region Manager Tim Smith said, calling Young “an exceptional ranger.”
Young is good-humored and “derives great satisfaction from protecting the land and helping people who have come to enjoy this great beauty,” Smith said.
Young also coaches his son’s Little League teams and takes children from his church on camping trips.
Cards and cards and letters may be sent to Ranger Brody Young, No. 454,
1192 E. Draper Parkway, Draper, Utah, 84020, and donations may be made to the Brody Young Benefit Fund at Wells Fargo Bank.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.