Alleged Shooter Who Killed 2 at Music Festival Is Army Ranger Based at JBLM

Members of the 62nd Civil Engineer Squadron after installing the new Joint Base Lewis-McChord sign
Members of the 62nd Civil Engineer Squadron pack up after installing the new Joint Base Lewis-McChord sign at the entrance of the base. (Abner Guzman/U.S. Air Force photo)

An Army Ranger based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state was being held in jail Wednesday for allegedly shooting into a crowd and killing two people at an electronic music festival over the weekend.

James Kelly, 26, a joint fire support specialist assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, was booked into the Grant County Jail on Tuesday and was under investigation for the shooting at the Beyond Wonderland festival Saturday about 149 miles east of Seattle, according to The Associated Press. Kelly was shot by law enforcement officers during the incident and had been in the hospital.

Kelly, an artillery spotter with the Rangers, was expected to appear in court Wednesday afternoon.

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Seattle residents Brandy Escamilla, 29, and Josilyn Ruiz, 26, who were engaged to be married, both died from their gunshot wounds, the wire service reported. Two others -- Lily Luksich, 20, of Mill Creek, Washington, and Andrew Cuadra, 31, of Eugene, Oregon -- were wounded by the gunfire.

Another person was injured -- a private security officer who responded to the shooting. A bullet ricocheted off her ballistic glasses, per the AP.

"First, 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," Lt. Col. Michael Burns, a spokesman for the command, wrote in an email statement. "We take all allegations seriously and are fully cooperating with the appropriate authorities."

The Grant County Sheriff's Office released additional information in a Facebook post on Tuesday, from Sheriff Joe Kriete.

Kelly "was hospitalized for a gunshot wound and was returned to Grant County today where he is lodged in the Grant County Jail. He is held for investigation of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, and one count of first-degree assault domestic violence."

According to Burns, Kelly's home of record is Strongsville, Ohio. Kelly has earned two Army Achievement Medals and the Parachutist Badge. He has not served on combat deployments.

-- Steve Beynon contributed reporting.

-- Adrian Bonenberger, an Army veteran and graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, reports for He can be reached at

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