Two brothers were out shed hunting in Northern California over the weekend when a mountain lion attacked them, killing one and seriously injuring the other. According to a statement from the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, the tragic incident took place on Saturday, March 23, in a remote area near Georgetown, California.  

“At 1:13 p.m., the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from an 18-year-old male who reported that he and his 21-year-old brother had been attacked by a mountain lion,” the Sheriff’s Office wrote. “The reporting party suffered traumatic injuries to his face and was separated from his brother during the attack. At 1:34 p.m., EDSO Deputies and Paramedics arrived in the area, located the reporting party and began to administer aid.” 

Soon, more deputies arrived on the scene and began searching for the caller’s brother. Within 15 minutes, they located the mountain lion crouched in front of a subject on the ground. The deputies fired their guns to scare the mountain lion away to attempt to help the victim; unfortunately, the 21-year-old man was already deceased when the authorities reached him.  

Fatal mountain lion attacks are extremely rare. The tragic incident marks the first fatal mountain lion attack in California since 2004, when a man was killed while attempting to repair his mountain bike in Southern California. Last weekend’s incident is the U.S.’s first confirmed fatal mountain lion attack in the 2020s and just the third one in the country since 2010.   

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), officials were able to successfully euthanize a mountain lion near the scene of Saturday’s attack. The cat’s body was sent to a CDFW forensics laboratory for assessment. Late on Sunday March 25, CDFW officials confirmed that the euthanized lion was the same animal involved in the fatal attack. The mountain lion was a 90-pound male and appeared to be in good health. Scientists plan to continue analyzing necropsy results to “determine whether there were underlying health conditions related to this particular animal.” 

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The Eldorado County Sheriff’s Office noted that the 18-year-old brother of the deceased victim underwent multiple surgeries and is expected to make a full recovery. “The family is grateful for the prayers and condolences from the community however wishes for privacy in order to process this tragic event,” wrote the agency. “Additionally, there have been multiple ‘GoFundMe’ accounts set up in support of the family. These accounts are not associated with the family or authorized by the family.”