Authorities ID brothers attacked, 1 fatally, by a mountain lion in California

Mar 25, 2024, 1:06 PM

GEORGETOWN, Calif. (AP) — Authorities have identified the brothers who were attacked, one fatally, by a mountain lion in Northern California during the weekend.

Taylen Robert Claude Brooks, 21, was killed in a remote area northeast of Sacramento on Saturday in the first fatal encounter with a cougar in the state in two decades. His 18-year-old brother, Wyatt Jay Charles Brooks, survived and is expected to recover after multiple surgeries.

“We are all devastated by the tragic loss of Taylen yet thankful Wyatt is still with us and are well-aware the outcome could have been even worse,” their family said in a statement released Monday. “These two young men being as close as any two brothers could be, lived a full energetic life enjoying the outdoors.”

The Mount Aukum brothers were hunting for shed antlers near Georgetown, a small, historic town about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of the state capital. They had hunted and fished together almost daily.

California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife said its wardens found the cougar and euthanized it. Mountain lions have attacked humans previously, but the last fatal encounter was in 2004 in Orange County, according to a verified list kept by the agency.

Taylen Brooks worked with his father, Aaron, painting houses and cutting firewood. A talented guitar player, he also enjoyed fishing and was remembered as a “very kind and gentle soul.”

Wyatt Brooks has been in a fire academy since September, hoping ultimately to be hired by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. His family described him as an avid baseball player and a bow-hunting enthusiast.

“A brother is a friend given by nature,” the family wrote in their statement. “These two brothers were driven by nature.”

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Authorities ID brothers attacked, 1 fatally, by a mountain lion in California