A law enforcement officer with the U.S. Forest Service was killed in a grizzly bear attack Wednesday in Montana, officials said.
Brad Treat, 38, of West Glacier, was mountain biking on a trail in the Halfmoon Lakes area with another man when he was fatally attacked by the bear at about 2 p.m., Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry said.
“It appears they likely surprised the bear and Treat was taken off his bike by the bear,” Curry said in a statement.
The other bicyclist managed to leave the area to get help and was not injured in the incident.
Treat was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Brad was an integral member of our area law enforcement team and a friend to us all,” Curry said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family tonight.”
Authorities were searching for the bear, described as a sow (female) seen with two cubs, KXLH reported.
The incident is under investigation by the Wildlife Human Attack Response Team of the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks, The U.S Forest Service and the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office.
The area was closed by the Forest Service for public safety pending completion of the investigation, as tributes poured in about Treat. Loved ones took to social media to express their sorrow.
“He was an amazing guy and the world will not be the same,” a friend wrote on Facebook.
“I always admired Brad's determination, kindness, and quirkiness,” another posted.
One loved one wrote: “He was such an inspiration on so many levels. I remember being so impressed watching him run in cross country, and later being so impressed with him as a law enforcement officer. I am so sorry. He was a great man.”
“Hugs. This is a huge loss for our community. A great man. So sorry,” a mourner posted.
Another wrote: “I'm praying for your family my friend. You were always there when we needed you. Rest in peace... I'll miss you terribly. I already do...”