Wife: Wounded Utah park ranger living ‘dream job’
SALT LAKE CITY — The wife of a Utah park ranger wounded in a shootout near Moab says there’s nothing about his job he doesn’t love.
Wendy Young spoke to The Salt Lake Tribune on Wednesday from the Grand Junction hospital where Brody Young is recovering after surgery.
“This is his total dream job,” the mother of three told the newspaper. “He thinks it’s the best job in the world. Brody is the nicest guy ever. He tries hard to be nice and always makes everything fun.”
Brody Young, 34, suffered gunshot wounds to his arm, leg and stomach following a confrontation during a routine parking lot check at the Poison Spider Mesa Trailhead on Nov. 19.
Police say the gunman has since been on the run. A desert manhunt involving more than 165 police officers for suspect Lance Leeroy Arellano was scaled back on Wednesday after five days.
About 30 officers will keep watch over the rugged area where Arellano was believed to have been, Grand County Sheriff Jim Nyland said.
The shooting is the first in Utah involving a park ranger and hit many in the department hard, Tim Smith, a Utah State Parks supervisor, said.
On the night of the shooting, Smith said Young was checking campgrounds for underage drinking and drug use. Smith said it would be unusual to see a car parked at the Poison Spider trailhead.
“That’s not a place where people go camping,” he said. “It’s a rough, rugged trail, and we do search and rescue there often. It"s tough for four-wheelers. In November, with it that cold at night, that would have been a real cause for concern.”
Investigators have been unable to interview Young and it’s not clear what precipitated the shooting.