Families of 2 Seattle women killed in Gorge campground shooting hire lawyer to investigate

The families of two women fatally shot last Saturday, allegedly by an Army specialist who told police he was hallucinating on mushrooms, have hired a lawyer to investigate what led up to the shooting at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Quincy, Washington.

Los Angeles-based attorney Kevin Boyle is representing the families of 29-year-old Josilyn Ruiz and 26-year-old Brandy Escamilla, said Angela Bailey, a spokesperson for their law firm.

The women’s families want to know, among other things, how Live Nation, the company that operates the Gorge Amphitheatre and its campgrounds, keeps guns off the property, Bailey said.

Weapons are not allowed within the concert venue and its campgrounds, according to the campground’s website. The women were attending an electronic music festival at the concert venue.

“(The families) are not litigious people, and they are not after money, but they do want to know why this happened and how it can be prevented in the future,” Boyle’s said in a statement Friday. “Live Nation has a legal duty to its paying guests to keep them safe.”

Representatives for Live Nation did not immediately respond to inquiries from The Oregonian/OregonLive.

Boyle, of Panish, Shae, Boyle, Ravipudi LLP, previously represented victims of the 2017 mass shooting Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, when a gunman killed 58 people and injured more than 500.

The engaged couple traveled from Seattle to attend the Beyond Wonderland festival when James Kelly is accused of opening fire at an amphitheater campground about 8:30 p.m., police said.

Escamilla died from a gunshot wound to the head and Ruiz died from a gunshot wound to her trunk, according to Grant County Coroner Craig Morrison.

Three others were also wounded in the shooting spree but survived, police said.

A police officer working undercover at the festival shot and wounded Kelly, who faces two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault and domestic violence assault.

Kelly, who joined the Army in 2021 and worked as a joint fire support specialist, told police that he was high on mushrooms when he grabbed a handgun from his pickup in the campground and shot Escamilla and Ruiz who were walking by, according to court documents.

Escamilla and Ruiz, both nurses, grew up about 20 miles apart from each other in towns near Los Angeles and became high school sweethearts after meeting each other through sports, Bailey said. Ruiz was from Walnut and Escamilla from Norwalk.

The couple had been together for about 11 years and moved to Seattle several years ago with their tabby cat, Otis, Bailey said.

The families, through Bailey, declined interviews.

On a family GoFundMe page, Ruiz’s sister-in-law, Leilani Ruiz, said Josilyn Ruiz was the family’s “ray of sunshine,” describing her as bubbly, kind and adventurous.

“As soon as you saw her she would brighten up the room with her big beautiful eyes, beautiful smile and contagious laugh,” Leilani Ruiz wrote. “You would tend to find her doing something to get a good laugh.”

Escamilla’s aunt, Alejandra Escamilla, said her niece was kind, caring and ambitious.

“We cannot put into words the pain our family is enduring,” Alejandra Escamilla wrote on the family’s GoFundMe page. “She was a huge light in our lives.”

— Catalina Gaitán, [email protected], @catalingaitan_

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