A mountain biker has died and a second person has been severely injured after they were mauled by a cougar on a remote road track in the state of Washington.
The two men had been riding their bicycles together in a remote rail in a forest outside the city of North Bend, around just 30 miles of the Seattle, when they were confronted by the wild animal on Saturday morning. S J Brooks was killed on that morning and 31-year-old Isaac Sederbaum suffered severe injuries.
Police said that the cougar pounced on the first man (Sederbaum) and left him with deep scratches before leaving and then returned to leave his other friend fatally wounded. Sergeant Ryan Abbott, of the King County Sheriff's Office, told Independent that, “He jumped on the first victim and attacked him. The second victim turned and started to run away. The cougar saw that and went after the second victim. The first victim saw his friend being pulled by the cougar. He got on his bike and started to bike away.”
Authorities said the two men did everything right, getting off their bikes, making noise and trying to scare the animal off. One tried hitting it with his bike after it attacked.
Sederbaum told the KOMO news, at one point his entire head was in the cougar's mouth and then it glanced at his other friend Brooks who was trying to run away that's when the wild animal went towards him and fatally attacked him. Sederbaum later rode for two more miles to get cell phone coverage and then called 911 for help.
Sederbaum survived the attack but was rushed to Harborview Medical Center with serious injuries. First responders said the cougar was standing over Brooks when authorities discovered his body. "The cougar had actually dragged the victim back to the wood line and he was found dead there," Sergeant Abbott from the King County Sheriff's office said.
According to the Seattle Bike Blog, Brooks, the victim of the cougar attack, was an avid biker, who co-founded Friends on Bikes Seattle to create a bike community where women/trans/femme/non-binary people of color could come together and have fun on bikes. "Certain cultures and certain genders aren't associated with bicycling even though all those people do bicycle,' Brooks had said in October 2017.
Seattle Times reported that Brooks was the director of operations at Hillman City Collaboratory and was a research assistant at William James College in Massachusetts. Brooks' LinkedIn profile also reveals he had been the office manager of G&O Family Cyclery in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood.
With regards to the fate of the wild animal, it was chased up a tree by hounds and shot a few hours later not far from the site of the attack. The wildlife officers described it to be an “emaciated” 3-year-old, 100-pound male. Males that age typically weigh upward of 140 pounds, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife website.
Law enforcement found Brooks’ body had been dragged and partially concealed under a log near the gravel road. Brooks was severely mauled, with wounds to the legs, head, face and neck.
Rich Beausoleil, the state’s official bear and cougar specialist, said the death was only the second caused by cougars in Washington in the last 94 years. “But it's one too many,” he warned.