Families of Music Event Tragedy Victims in D.C. File Lawsuit Against Live Nation and Security Firms

Families of Music Event Tragedy Victims in D.C. File Lawsuit Against Live Nation and Security Firms

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Two women were shot and killed at a music festival in Washington’s Gorge Amphitheater in 2023. Their families have now filed a wrongful death case against Live Nation, its subsidy company, and the security companies that worked the event.

In June 2023, Brandy Escamilla, 29, and Josilyn Ruiz, 26, went to the Beyond Wonderland event. 26-year-old James M. Kelly, who was in the U.S. service at the time of the shooting, is accused of taking hallucinogens and then shooting in the campground, killing two people and hurting many more.

Kelly pleaded not guilty to five charges, including murder, assault, and assault in the home.

In a joint statement, the women’s families said, “All Brandy and Josilyn wanted to do that weekend was enjoy good music, dance, and relax after a busy week. Instead, they lost their lives and the chance to spend their lives together as they’d planned.” We miss being able to hug our beautiful girls again, hear their voices, and tell them how much we love them. Instead, we have pictures of them to look at. We never want another parent or family to go through what we did.

On April 11, the lawsuit was filed in King County. It says that the event organizers and security had “inadequate, unreasonable, and egregiously deficient conduct and security.”

Brian Panish, Spencer Lucas, Hunter Norton, and Kevin Boyle of Boyle Law are lawyers for the families. They are all members of Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP. Live Nation owns and runs the Gorge Amphitheater. They bought it in 2006.

The lawsuit says that Live Nation “woefully fell short” in following its rules against drugs and weapons at the event. It also says that the company has known for years that its events have had illegal drugs and weapons.

A news release about the case says that Live Nation neglected to follow its own rules and do what it should have done to keep the venue and campgrounds safe for concertgoers. It cost Brandy and Josilyn their lives because they failed.

KING 5 has asked Live Nation for a response.

The lawsuit says Kelly arrived at the campground with guns, illegal hallucinogenic mushrooms, and a lot of ammunition in his truck. However, the security companies named in the case never searched or stopped him.

The claim says that Kelly ate the mushrooms and then started acting “erratic and strange” in the concert area. Kelly and his lover went back to the campground, where Kelly is said to have taken his gun out of his truck and started shooting. Records show that Escamilla and Ruiz were shot and killed at the scene, and that other people were also hit by gunshots.

The lawsuit says that not a single Live Nation employee, manager, or security guard tried to stop the shooter before he did it, even though he was clearly high on drugs and acting in a way that made him suspicious, which would have led to him being kicked out of the festival and campgrounds right away.

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