Engaged Latina Couple Killed in Music Festival Shooting, U.S. Army Suspect in Custody
Loved ones are mourning the two women, originally from Walnut, California, and their “unconditional and unbreakable” love. As Ruiz’s sister Julia Ruiz wrote on Instagram, their family is struck by “immense grief.”
Escamilla and Ruiz were both nurses. Family members describe them as larger than life. Grieving sister Ruiz posted a video on Instagram of the couple, showing them snowboarding in Banff in Alberta, Canada.
Writing that her “favorite highlights” of the clip include the two women’s “cat baby” Otis, taking fireball shots on the ski lift, “meeting random strangers and singing with them in a bar the night of their engagement.”
Rivera remembers her sister and Escamilla as “the coolest.”
Loved ones of the couple are living “immense grief and horror” after the tragedy
According to Beyond Wonderland’s website, Saturday, June 17 was the first night of the two-day festival. Apart from EDM acts like Dillon Francis, it included several sites where concert-goers could camp out.
As per FOX 13, an active shooter alert went off near the Gorge Amphitheatre that Saturday at 8:25 p.m. The Grant County Sheriff’s Office said that while quickly responding to the call, the suspect “continued to shoot into the crowd.”
Apart from Escamilla and Ruiz, who tragically passed after being shot, three other people were injured.
Sister Ruiz explained on Instagram, “On June 17, 2023, my beautiful sister Jossi and her fiancé Brandy were shot and killed by a disgusting human at the Gorge Amphitheater music festival in Washington.”
“I am angry and my heart is shattered,” she described. “Jossi was my big sis, my twin and very best friend. Brandy was her soulmate and her greatest love and reason for living.”
As the sister said, the couple’s love “was so strong it kept them together until the end.”
Meanwhile, the Ruiz’s family’s lawyer told FOX 13 that the loving couple were high school sweethearts planning their wedding. They had just moved to Seattle two months prior.
Ruiz told Rolling Stone her sister Josilyn was her “biggest inspiration” and a “walking ray of sunshine.”
She told the outlet, “She taught me self-love, tough love, and her relationship with Brandy showed me the greatest love.”
Devastated, she spoke about her late sister’s “random ‘love you’ texts,” her love of the band Paramore, and how the couple threw a “live-streamed rave” during the pandemic from their home.
“They knew how to live life to the fullest and touched anyone they encountered,” she remembered.
The suspect reportedly admitted to hallucinating on mushrooms before the shooting
As per KHQ, court documents reveal that shooting suspect Kelly says he attended the festival with his girlfriend Lily Luksich.
He says he took mushrooms before attending and began hallucinating at the scene. Kelly allegedly thought the world was ending, repeating, “This is the end.”
At that point, he retrieved a handgun from his vehicle, loading a magazine into it. As per KHQ’s report, Escamilla and Ruiz walked past Kelly when he shot them multiple times. They died at the scene.
The shooting injured three other people. Andrew Caudra, 31, approached the couple after the suspect shot them. Kelly allegedly shot him in the shoulder and it is uncertain whether “he will ever be mobile in his shoulder again.”
Loved ones describe Caudra as an “amazing father of two,” setting up a GoFundMe page for him.
Kelly also allegedly shot Luksich twice, giving her a “life-threatening” injury. Moreover, reports say the suspect shot at the vehicle of Crowd Management Services employee Lori Williams, 62. One shot resulted in injuries to her face.
As per Fox 13, deputies shot Kelly on the scene and took the suspect to the hospital for treatment.
Authorities have since booked Kelly into jail. He is being held for two counts of investigation of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault and one count of first-degree assault-domestic violence.
Loved ones have set up two GoFundMe pages for victims Escamilla and Ruiz
Brandy Escamilla’s aunt Alejandra Escamilla set up a GoFundMe page in memory of her niece, writing, “The funds raised will go towards funeral expenses, bringing her belongings home, and any other needed services.”
“We cannot put into words the pain our family is enduring,” the aunt described. “Brandy was kind, caring, the kind of person that would light up a room with her energy and her beautiful smile.”
“She and her fiancée enjoyed going on endless adventures alongside their cat, Otis, and their friends,” she recalled.
The GoFundMe page explains that Escamilla had a nursing degree from Mount St. Marys. She was “dedicated and passionate to helping others.”
Ruiz’s loved ones set up a separate GoFundMe page for her, which will go “towards the efforts of retrieving Josilyn’s belongings in Seattle, WA, funeral services, and other unexpected costs.”
The late nurse’s sister-in-law, Leilani Ruiz, wrote, “Words cannot describe the pain our family and friends are grieving from our precious loss of a wonderful angel.”
“Our lives will never be the same,” she said. “Josilyn became a Registered Nurse and had an immense passion for helping others.”
Family and friends remember Ruiz’s love of “dancing, singing, attending music festivals, outdoor adventures, acting, snowboarding, and traveling.”
As per the GoFundMe page, Ruiz “had a kind soul and was willing to go out of her way to help anyone in need.”
The Ruiz family “express [their] deepest gratitude” for the “incredibly kind” donations they have received so far.
“Your act of kindness has reminded us of the incredible goodness and generosity that exists in the world, and it has served as a ray of light during our darkest moments,” they said.
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