EPHRATA, Wash. — The U.S. Army soldier arrested in connection to the deadly shooting at the Gorge Amphitheatre campgrounds was high on drugs when he killed two people and wounded three others, according to new court filings out of Grant County.
Prosecutors said James Kelly, a 26-year-old Joint Base Lewis-McChord active-duty solider, had taken hallucinogenic mushrooms prior to the Beyond Wonderland electronic dance music festival on Saturday, and once the drugs kicked in, he started thinking “the world was ending.” According to criminal charging papers, Kelly told his girlfriend they needed to return to the campground, which is where he went back to his truck and retrieved a handgun.
Moments later, engaged couple Josilyn Ruiz and Brandy Escamilla were walking past, and Kelly fired on both of them, court documents said. Ruiz, 26, and Escamilla, 29, were later pronounced dead on scene. According to the evidence prosecutors presented, Kelly then shot 31-year-old father of two Andrew Cuadra, who also goes by August Morningstar, who suffered a serious injury to his shoulder and is now recovering at the hospital. Kelly is also charged with shooting a 61-year-old private security guard who was slightly injured.
Prosecutors said Kelly’s girlfriend called 911, but Kelly grabbed the phone and threw it into the field before she could alert law enforcement of what was happening. Kelly then took his girlfriend into a field, possibly in an attempt to hide, and ultimately shot her twice in the legs, prosecutors said.
Kelly was then shot and wounded by a Moses Lake police officer and taken into custody, officials said.
Wednesday, Kelly appeared before a judge in a Grant County courtroom and heard the charges against him. The judge ordered Kelly be held in jail without bail at this time and he is expected back in court on July 5 for an arraignment hearing.