Tragic Shooting at Washington State Music Festival Leaves Engaged Couple Dead

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A tragic incident unfolded on Saturday night at a campground located near a concert venue in Washington State, resulting in the heartbreaking loss of Brandy Escamilla and Josilyn Ruiz, a couple who had been planning their wedding.

Washington State shootout kills engaged couple Brandy Escamilla and Josilyn Ruiz. (Photo: GOFUNDME)

Brandy Escamilla, 29, and Josilyn Ruiz, 26, were eagerly looking forward to attending the electronic dance music festival at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington State on that fateful Saturday. However, their evening took a devastating turn when an active-duty U.S. service member approached them while they were leisurely walking through the neighboring campgrounds. According to a statement released by law enforcement on Tuesday night, the couple fell victim to the gunfire that erupted as Army soldiers began shooting into the crowd.

Family members of Brandy Escamilla and Josilyn Ruiz confirmed to PEOPLE that the couple had been close friends since their high school days and were joyfully planning their upcoming wedding.

Within hours of the shooting incident on June 17, Kyle Foreman, a representative from the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, provided initial details. He revealed that the suspect, identified as James M. Kelly, 26, allegedly opened fire at approximately 8:23 p.m., specifically targeting the campground situated a few hundred yards away from the concert venue. A video press conference held by Kyle Foreman was subsequently shared on Facebook, providing updates on the tragic event.

Foreman stated that the concert went on as long as the suspect was being sought and that county-wide security alerts were issued to the populace to keep additional people out of the area.

The Joint Base Lewis McCord-based suspect is accused of injuring three people, including a woman who was with him at the event, according to a public release on Facebook sent on Tuesday by the North Central Washington Special Investigations Unit, which is now in charge of the probe.

Additionally struck once in the left shoulder, Andrew J. Caudra, 31, of Eugene, Oregon, required hospitalization. As of Tuesday night, his status was stable.

According to a news release from Captain Brian Chance of the Wenatchee Police Department, 61-year-old crowd control specialist Lori Williams was hurt while responding to the complaint of gunfire. Chance claimed that Williams was shot “multiple times” by the perpetrator and that one of those shots entered her windshield, penetrated her windshield, struck her in the right side of her face, broke her spectacles, and left bruises and lacerations. Williams received treatment and was then freed, according to him.

Police followed the suspect, who was accompanied by a young woman, to an agricultural field next to the campground, according to Chance. Lily A. Luksich, 20, of Millcreek, Washington, was with the suspect when he reportedly turned the gun on her and struck her twice in the lower body, according to law authorities.

The suspect was wounded when Moses Lake Police Department Detective Edgar Salazar, 35, a former Marine, shot him once in the field. Following a flurry of police activity, the suspect was separated from Luksich, who was then taken to the hospital, treated for her injuries, and then discharged. After being transferred to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, the suspect was later released and put into Grant County Jail, according to Chance’s statement.

It is not yet known if he has entered a plea or appointed a lawyer to speak on his behalf.

In addition to more than 100 injuries and 12 fatal shootings that occurred last weekend around the nation, including at least 60 in Chicago, CBS News reported that the shooting at the music festival was just one of many.

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