Josilyn Ruiz, 26, and Brandy Escamilla, 29, were attending the Beyond Wonderland electronic dance music (EDM) festival at the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington when someone allegedly opened fire near the venue. The incident took both of their lives after they sustained serious injuries. The Los Angeles natives were travel nurses working in the area and engaged to be married. Now their loved ones are coming to terms with this unimaginable loss.
Escamilla, who earned her nursing degree at Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles, is being remembered for her kindness. “We cannot put into words the pain our family is enduring. Brandy was kind, caring, the kind of person that would light up a room with her energy and her beautiful smile,” one of her loved ones wrote on her GoFundMe page, which is being used to raise money for funeral expenses and move their belongings back to California.
“As soon as you saw her, she would brighten up the room with her big, beautiful eyes, beautiful smile, and contagious laugh. Not only did our family and friends lose a special human being, but so did the world,” Leilani Ruiz wrote of Josilyn.
Three other people were shot and wounded at a nearby campground as well, including Lily Luksich, 20, of Mill Creek, Washington, and 31-year-old Andrew Cuadra of Eugene, Oregon.
During a press conference, Grant County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kyle Forman said the suspected shooter allegedly started shooting at the campground just before 8:30 p.m. before heading toward a crowd of festivalgoers “several hundred yards away.” The authorities believe the suspect fired “randomly into the crowd” before being apprehended by the police.
“There will come a time when we have to pass along our investigative information on to the State of Washington’s Office of Independent Investigation, which is a branch of government that is an investigative group that investigates officer-involved shootings in Washington,” Forman said.
The suspect has been identified as James M. Kelly, 26, who was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He was booked on two counts of murder, two counts of assault, and one count of domestic violence assault, Grant County Sheriff Joe Kriete wrote on Facebook.
The incident comes nearly a year after Grant County Sheriff’s Office deputies prevented another man from carrying out what they believed were plans to commit a mass shooting at the same venue.