top of page
  • Writer's pictureBrad Parker

You're Shot, You're Not Dead. Win the Fight Part 2

Shot Nine Times. Survived. Fought Back. Won.

Brody Young, a ranger in the Utah Parks and Recreation Department, was surprised and ambushed by a man with whom he had just contacted.

Young’s contact was a man who was sleeping in his car. Young informed him that he could not sleep there and directed him to other locations where he could sleep overnight. According to Young the conversation was calm and rational.

As Young was leaving, he looked over his shoulder and noticed that the man was now approaching him with a semi-automatic handgun in his hand. The man fired first, shattering Young’s left arm and spinning him towards his own truck.

The man fired three more quick shots, all hitting Young in the back. One of the bullets penetrated his vest and hit his vertebrae. The fusillade drove Young to the ground.

The attacker — now standing over Young — fired and hit Young a total of nine times. The attacker paused, apparently decided he had ended Young, and turned towards his own car.

Decision: Die? Or Fight?

Young says as he was laying there, he asked himself, “Do I die, or get up and fight?”

He made his decision right there and got up and moved around his department truck for cover from the attacker.

The Ranger, who is left-handed, instinctively attempted to draw and return fire with his dominant hand. But the damage to his arm from the first shot meant he had to cross draw his firearm with his right — or support — hand. When he opened fire, the assailant ducked behind Young's truck.

Now they are both taking cover on opposing sides of the ranger vehicle, separated by just the width of the truck.

Young opened fire on his attacker, blasting through weak areas in the truck's body that the would-be cop killer had hidden behind. The result of this tactic was that some of Young's rounds were going through and hitting the attacker, although Young could not see the results and was unaware of his hits at the time.

Young had to reload. Because he was shooting one-handed, he shifted his handgun to hold it between his legs, removed the old magazine, and attempted to reload with a fresh one. He fumbled this magazine and had to reach for his magazine pouch again for his second fresh magazine. This magazine slid home. He deftly hooked his gun's rear sights on the truck's bumper, and shoved it forward, charging the handgun with a round from the full magazine.

After the reload, Young resumed firing while advancing on the suspect, forcing the attacker to flee to the other side of his own car. As Young advanced, he realized he was edging towards unconscious. He decided to retreat back to the cover of his own truck while continuing to fire his handgun keeping the attacker engaged. It sounds like Young kept firing while falling backward onto the ground.

Unbeknownst to Young, the suspect was seriously injured and decided to break off the attack and flee.

Young's body was starting to shut down. As he tried to move he said, "I felt like concrete had been poured over me."

As he fought to move, he said his thoughts turned to his wife and his three children. He said he had this understanding that he wanted to see his children age and if he did not get to the radio he would not be able to see that. He had to radio in for help.

This gave him enough strength to drag himself to the open door of the truck and reach far enough up to grab the radio. He knew he needed to be controlled on the radio so he could be understood. He considered how to make his message brief but urgent. “Price to Alpha 6-9, I’m at Poison Mesa Trailhead. I’ve been shot. Please hurry.”

The dispatcher acknowledged the call. He had gotten through. His associates knew where he was and knew he needed help.

He laid back and concentrated on controlling his breathing. His whole world became just connecting his last breath with the next. Over and over.

As he laid there he heard the comforting voices of his supervisor and EMTs he knew over the radio traffic. They were coming for him.

Young was -- amazingly -- still conscious 10 minutes later when the troops arrived. While they were treating him, he relayed details on the attack, the adversary, and the direction he might have traveled.

The damage done by the .40 caliber rounds to Young was significant. Major wounds to heart, lungs, a kidney. He was put into a medically-induced coma and remained unconscious for a month.

Yet, despite the grievous injuries, Young would be home with his family by Christmas.

Lessons Which Saved Ranger Young

Ranger Brody Young says these lessons contributed to his survival:

1. “Pay attention to premonitions.” A little voice in his head convinced him nine months prior to the incident to get back into shape. He began to work out hard, especially at cardio. After he was shot, his heart pounded at 180 beats per minute for three straight days. He explained that it was like running a marathon at a sprint for three days straight. If he had not been in top condition at the time he was shot, doctors said he would not have survived.

2. “Establish survival habits.” The simple habit of keeping his door open during parking-area contacts saved his life, otherwise, he would not have been able to reach his radio.

3. “Wear your vest!”

4. “Eat healthily. Get fit and stay fit!”

5. “Live to train and train to live!”

6. “For me death was not an option. No matter how bad it gets, never give up!”

I would add two other “lessons” which played a huge role in Young's performance and survival.

7. This goes with his point number 5 above, "Live to train and train to live." Young's "pre-training" to shoot bilaterally and to reload with an injured arm is perhaps one of the most important aspects which contributed to his survival. He had diligently practiced drills for just the sort of emergency situations he was put into. His dominant shooting arm is damaged beyond use. He already knows when and how to cross draw with his right support hand. He is immediately in the fight and shooting right-handed. He knows how to reload with just a support hand. He knows how to charge his handgun with one hand by using the rear sight.

8. Young relates that engaging the attacker on the other side of the truck, he remembered the discussion that he had with his Chief about the capabilities of their ammunition to penetrate vehicles and where the weak points were. They had talked about only the engine block being capable of stopping rounds. In my opinion this gave Young the mental mind map of being able to shoot through the vehicle instead of what happens naturally to most people -- they feel it's necessary to shoot above or around a car.

These are the type of lessons we need to think about and to take to heart. Humans are humans, and if Brody Young can do it we can do it.

People you love are counting on you.

Train like your life depends on it.


bottom of page