Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brody Young is the Utah State Parks officer who was shot and nearly killed by a fugitive in 2010 near Moab, Utah. He is photographed here at the Law Enforcement Memorial in Salt Lake City, Utah Thursday July 19, 2012.
Kirby: Wounded Moab officer wants near-death to mean something

By Robert Kirby

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Aug 02 2012 05:17 pm • Last Updated Aug 20 2012 02:07 pm

Like most of Utah in November 2010, I expected State Parks Ranger Brody Young to die. It seemed logical. Who gets shot nine times and lives?

Brody, a state parks ranger, was shot by a man he found sleeping in a car at the Poison Spider Mesa trailhead near Moab. The suspect also was wounded but managed to escape. Alive or dead, he’s still out there somewhere.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Two weeks ago, Brody and I met at the Utah Law Enforcement Memorial on the west grounds of the State Capitol. We talked briefly about the moment when he almost joined the ranks of more than 130 fallen officers whose names adorn the wall.

"I only knew that I had to stay in the fight," Brody said about being shot. "It came down to deciding whether I wanted to live or just lay down and die."

Brody doesn’t like talking about that night but is constantly reminded of how it changed his life and that of his family. He would much rather focus on a renewed sense of obligation to his family and fellow officers.

"I didn’t want to go through all that for nothing," he said. "I wanted it to mean something."

But first things first.

Almost as soon as he regained consciousness, Brody knew he had to do the unthinkable — he had to go back to police work. He needed to know whether he could control the fear or it would control him.

The road back was long and never entirely certain. But on June 6, after multiple surgeries, more than a year of physical therapy, and with four bullets still in him, Brody put his uniform back on.

Not everyone is happy with the arrangement. Brody’s wife, Wendy, and their three children understand more than most police families what’s at stake now, and just how fast it can happen.

story continues below
story continues below

When Brody’s son saw his father in uniform for the first time, he fearfully wanted to know what was going on.

"I told him that I was just going back on the water," Brody said.

It was only a small lie. Like most police officers, nearly everyone Brody meets is nice. It’s trying to figure out who isn’t that is the tough part. If you get it wrong, it can kill you. He admits to struggling with this since returning to duty.

What happened to Brody also happened to his family. And in many respects, it is still happening. Wendy Young had to "let" her husband go back. And the couple’s children went from having their father home all the time to seeing him only two days a week now.

"We’re glad he can go back to work," Wendy said. "But it’s been hard for us to accept that he has. We’re still feeling the ripple effect of what happened."

Wendy has tried to shield the children from the constant reminders of the ugly side of their father’s job. But Moab is a small town, and she recognizes her husband will always be the guy who got shot so many times and lived.

While she’s grateful for the help and support from family and friends, Wendy misses their life before it was defined by the shooting.

"I wish we could go back to just being us," she said. "But we can’t."

Today, Brody assists in all the Utah State Parks law-enforcement activity regarding boating. He spends 10 days a month in Salt Lake City. But he has a deeper sense of what it means to be alive and wants to put what happened to him to good use.

"The public needs to know a lot more about what police officers go through," he said. "That we’re targets for some people, and it is almost impossible to tell who those people are right away. So every contact is unpredictable."

Brody also wants to start a support group for wounded police officers and their families. Who better to help them deal with post-shooting trauma and stress than those who have been there?

Next Page >

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.