Cyclist killed by cougar in Washington state identified

Posted at 11:06 AM, May 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-22 11:06:16-04

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The victim of deadly cougar attack over the weekend has been identified as SJ Brooks.

In Washington, it's only the second recorded cougar-related fatality in the last 94 years.

Brooks, 32, was riding with his friend Isaac Sederbaum Saturday near north bend when they were attacked. 

Sederbaum managed to escape the big cat's jaws, but Brooks could not. 

Sederbaum is recovering at a hospital.

Tyler Gillies knew and worked with Brooks for just a couple of years and they grew to be dear friends

"He moved out here from Boston not too long ago and he just ate it, ate it up out here.  Loved the pacific northwest outdoors," said Gillies.

He says Brooks was an avid cyclist and had been leading cycling trips for the last year. 

Therefore, Brooks would have been familiar with the lake Hancock Forest area where he and a Sederbaum were riding.

"I have so many friends that ride out there all the time. I do the same thing myself. It is a perfectly safe and wonderful thing to do. And SJ was in the wrong place at the wrong time and I’m just crushed,” said Gillies.

The cougar was trapped and euthanized according to Capt. Alan Myers with the WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

Myers said the cougar, a male, was emaciated; that even at 100 pounds, he was thinner than normal. 

The cougar was transported to the veterinary lab at Washington State University, as officials try to figure out why it so uncharacteristically attacked two humans.

The National Geographic reports that the cougar may have attacked Brooks because it was in "very bad shape."

Copyright 2018 CNN. All rights reserved.