Army Ranger accused of killing 2 people at a Washington State music festival

James Kelly, a fire support specialist with the 75th Ranger Regiment, is suspected of opening fire at a music festival in Washington State over the weekend.
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75th Ranger Regiment joint base lewis mcchord
U.S. Army Rangers of the 75th Ranger Regiment conduct field training for a unit TFT (Task Force Training) operation on Joint Base Lewis - McChord, Wa., Aug. 14, 2019. (Spc. Garrett Shreffler/U.S. Army)

An Army Ranger is in custody on suspicion of opening fire on a crowd at a music festival in Washington State over the weekend, killing two people and injuring two others. 

James Kelly, 26, a joint fire support specialist assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, was being held at the Grant County Jail as of Wednesday, under investigation for two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, and one count of first-degree assault domestic violence, according to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office. 

The shooting occurred on June 17, at the Gorge Amphitheater, where the Beyond Wonderland electronic dance music festival was being held. 

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Seattle residents Brandy Escamilla, 29, and Josilyn Ruiz, 26, were pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office. According to the Associated Press, the two were engaged to be married. Andrew Cuadra, 31, of Eugene, Oregon, and Lily Luksich, 20, of Mill Creek, Washington, were also wounded and transported to local hospitals. Additionally, a private security guard at the event was injured by a bullet that ricocheted off her eyeglasses. Kelly was hospitalized for a gunshot wound over the weekend before being booked into jail. 

“The U.S. Army Special Operations Command extends our condolences to the victims and families of those affected by this act of violence. The command is aware of the allegations against Spc. James Kelly. We take all allegations seriously and are fully cooperating with the appropriate authorities,” said Army Special Operations Command spokesman Lt. Col. Michael Burns in a statement. 

Kelly enlisted in the Army in 2021, according to his service record provided by the Army. He had received two Army Achievement Medals, a Good Conduct Medal, and the Parachutist Badge. No deployments or combat awards were recorded.   

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