2 brothers involved in deadly NorCal mountain lion attack ID'd by sheriff's office

Tuesday, March 26, 2024
21-year-old man who died in NorCal mountain lion attack ID'd
One brother died and another was injured in a mountain lion attack in Northern California on Saturday, according to authorities.

GEORGETOWN, Calif. (KGO) -- Two brothers involved in a fatal mountain lion attack over the weekend have been identified.

The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office identified them as 21-year-old Taylen Robert Claude Brooks and 18-year-old Wyatt Brooks of Mt. Aukum in Northern California.

Taylen Brooks died in the attack and Wyatt is recovering from injuries.

Taylen Brooks
Taylen Brooks
The Brooks Family

PREVIOUS STORY: Mountain lion attack leaves man dead and injures his brother in NorCal

One man died and another was injured in a mountain lion attack in a remote area in Northern California on Saturday, according to authorities.

On Saturday, Wyatt called authorities to report he and Taylen were attacked by a mountain lion while antler shed hunting in the Georgetown area, according to an El Dorado County Sheriff's Office news release.

Wyatt was separated from Taylen during the attack and suffered "traumatic injuries" to his face, according to authorities.

This is an undated image of the Brooks brothers. Taylen Brooks, 21, left, and Wyatt Brooks, 18, right.
This is an undated image of the Brooks brothers. Taylen Brooks, 21, left, and Wyatt Brooks, 18, right.
The Brooks Family

Deputies searching for the missing brother found him on the ground next to the crouched mountain lion, the release said.

The deputies fired their weapons to ward off the mountain lion so they could get to the brother, according to the release.

"Deputies discharged their firearms in order to scare the mountain lion off so they could render medical aid," the release read. When they reached him, they realized the 21-year-old had died, according to the sheriff's office.

The last fatal mountain lion attack in the state dates back to 2004, when a 35-year-old man was killed at Whiting Ranch Regional Park in Orange County, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's list of "verified mountain lion-human attacks."

"According to historical reports, four fatal incidents involving six victims occurred around the turn of the previous century," the agency notes. There have been 21 mountain lion attacks - defined as "direct physical contact between a human and a mountain lion resulting in physical injury or death" - since 1986, according to the list, not including the Saturday incident.

The mountain lion was later found by wardens from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the El Dorado County trapper, according to Kyle Parker, a spokesperson for the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office.

"The mountain lion was dispatched, and the body of the mountain lion was collected for further examination," he said.

Mountain lion attacks on humans are rare, according to the state agency.

MORE: CA mountain lion population fewer than previously estimated, report says

Family releases detailed account of mountain lion attack

"I was shocked honestly, it's really sad. He was just a really honest and genuine guy. Super nice, very charismatic, we were always goofing with each other and he just had a very positive outlook on life. A very good person, a very good friend," said Emma Hutchinson.

Emma Hutchinson went to high school with Taylen and his younger brother Wyatt, who was also attacked by the lion as the two were searching for deer antler sheds.

In a statement released Monday afternoon by the El Dorado Sheriff's Office the family described the moment the 90 pound mountain lion came up to the dirt road where Wyatt and Taylen were walking; saying, "They raised their hands in the air to appear larger, yelled at the lion and Wyatt even threw his backpack at the lion, all in an attempt to scare the lion away."

The family says the lion then immediately charged Wyatt, bit down on his face, and took him to the ground. Wyatt was able to eventually get on top of the lion as Taylen beat on it and yelled at it, but then the lion broke free, it charged and bit Taylen in the throat. Wyatt was unable to get the lion to release his grip and soon called 911.

On ABC 7 News reporter J.R. Stone's social media pages, there were hundreds of comments, some questioning why the two did not have firearms with them.

Family members saying, "Saturday was also the opening day of junior turkey hunting season so they did not take any firearms with them, so as not to draw any attention from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife."

MORE: What to do if you come face-to-face with a mountain lion

The full statement by the Brooks family:

"We would like to express our sincere thanks for the outpouring of support and prayers from family, friends and the community. 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. Taylen and Wyatt grew up in Southern El Dorado County where they enjoyed hunting and fishing together, almost daily.

These two young men being as close as any two brothers could be, lived a full energetic life enjoying the outdoors. Wyatt Jay Charles Brooks, age 18 Wyatt has been in the Mt. Adams Fire Academy since last September, he aspires to be hired with Cal Fire. He is an avid baseball player and an ardent bow hunting enthusiast. Taylen Robert Claude Brooks, age 21 Taylen worked with his father, Aaron painting houses and cutting firewood and loved being outdoors.

He truly enjoyed fishing and was an extremely talented guitar player. He was a very kind and gentle soul and will be deeply missed by all who knew him. A brother is a friend given by nature.

These two brothers were driven by nature. For everyone that wants to know the "What" of this tragedy, the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office's release of the facts accurately reflects the tragedy.

We all are thankful for everyone respecting our privacy and space during this difficult time

The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office said plans for a memorial for Taylen are being worked on and details will be released as soon as they are finalized.

The El Dorado Community Foundation created a Brooks Brothers Support Fund to support the Brooks family. Donations are tax deductible.

CNN's Raja Razek, Jessica Flynn, Cindy Von Quednow contributed to this report.

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