A cyclist killed by a cougar while out for a morning mountain bike ride east of Seattle over the weekend had ties to Massachusetts.
S.J. Brooks, 32, of Seattle, a well-known member of the Cambridge cycling community, was mountain biking on a trail in the Cascade Mountain foothills on Saturday when the cyclist was attacked and killed by the animal.
Brooks' friend, Isaac Sederbaum, 31, of Seattle, was badly injured and had to bike for about 2 miles before getting cellphone coverage and calling 911. Sederbaum is in satisfactory condition at a hospital after being bitten on the head.
According to the Seattle Times, Brooks was director of operations at Hillman City Collaboratory.
A spokeswoman for the Boston Center for the Arts confirms Brooks worked there in 2012 and was beloved by coworkers.
A LinkedIn profile says Brooks worked as an adjunct professor at Roxbury Community College, as a bicycle mechanic at Broadway Bicycle School in Cambridge and as a machinist and finisher at Seven Cycles in Watertown while living in the Boston area. Brooks also received a doctorate in the history of art and architecture from Boston University in 2016.
Like in Boston, Brooks was known in the Seattle community for pushing to make biking welcome for trans and non-binary riders. Now, two biking communities on opposite ends of the U.S. are sharing a common pain after this unexpected loss.
Authorities say the cougar that attacked the two cyclists appears to have been emaciated.
Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Police Capt. Alan Myers said the cougar was about 100 pounds, when a typical 3-year-old male in the area would be 140 to 180 pounds. A necropsy will try to determine why the animal was underweight.
Authorities said Brooks and Sederbaum did everything right, getting off their bikes, making noise and trying to scare the animal off. One of them even smacked it with one of the bikes after it charged.
The cougar ran off, but it returned and attacked when the two got back on their bikes.
State wildlife agents used dogs to track the cougar and found it in a tree. They shot and killed it.