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Tragic Loss of Two Engaged Latinas Shakes Beyond Wonderland Festival

Tragic Loss of Two Engaged Latinas Shakes Beyond Wonderland Festival

The recent shooting incident at Beyond Wonderland on Saturday, June 17, 2023, held at Washington’s Gorge Amphitheatre, has left the families and friends of two Latinas, Brandy Escamilla, 29, and Josilyn Ruiz, 26, devastated. The engaged couple, known for their vibrant personalities and deep affection for each other, were tragically shot and killed during the festival. As the community grapples with the profound loss, loved ones are seeking answers and remembering the joy and love that Brandy and Josilyn brought into their lives. 

According to law enforcement officials, the shooting occurred in the festival’s campgrounds when active-duty U.S. Army member James M. Kelly allegedly opened fire, taking the lives of Brandy and Josilyn. The suspect fired indiscriminately into the crowd before being apprehended, leaving three others injured. They are currently stable. These shocking events have sparked a wave of mourning and reflection among those who knew and cherished the couple. 


How This Tragedy at the Beyond Wonderland Festival Impacted the Couple’s Loved Ones

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Julia Ruiz, Josilyn’s younger sister, fondly recalls the profound impact her sister had on her life. She describes Josilyn as her “biggest inspiration” and a “walking ray of sunshine” who guided her through her formative years. 

Julia affectionately describes Brandy as Josilyn’s “soulmate” and emphasizes the profound love they shared. The couple met 11 years ago and quickly became like an additional big sister to Julia. Their love for each other was evident to everyone around them. Brandy proposed to Josilyn during a trip to Canada, and the following year, Josilyn reciprocated by proposing to Brandy on a boat near Seattle. 

Over the years, their shared passion for music, especially electronic dance music, continued to evolve. As per the Rolling Stone interview, even during the pandemic, they organized a live-streamed rave in their family room, bringing joy and music to their loved ones. Their inseparable bond and zest for life made a lasting impression on everyone they encountered. 

Brandy’s aunt, Alex Escamilla, launched a GoFundMe campaign to assist with funeral expenses and the transportation of Brandy’s belongings back to Southern California, where she was raised.  

Similarly, Josilyn’s sister-in-law, Leilani Ruiz, established a GoFundMe campaign that has already raised over $68,000. Leilani describes Josilyn as a vibrant individual, full of joy and always ready to inject some laughter into any situation. She fondly recalls Josilyn’s hardworking and playful nature, emphasizing the positive impact she had on others. 

Both Brandy and Josilyn worked as nurses, showcasing their dedication to helping others. 

As the grieving process unfolds, friends and family members are left questioning how such a tragedy could occur at an event attended by tens of thousands of people. Kevin Boyle of Panish Shea Boyle Ravipudi LLP, the legal counsel that represented victims of the Route 91 shooting in Las Vegas, is now assisting the Ruiz family in their pursuit of answers. Boyle emphasizes that the families are not driven by financial gain but rather seek to understand the circumstances that led to this devastating incident. 

The loss of Brandy Escamilla and Josilyn Ruiz has cast a somber shadow over the Beyond Wonderland festival. Their vibrant spirits, unwavering love, and dedication to helping others will forever be cherished by their friends and family.

Please donate to their respective GoFundMe campaigns if you can. 

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