A North Dakota man who has been charged with killing a teenager by running him down with his vehicle has admitted to intentionally driving over him after a dispute over politics. He later claimed he believed the victim was part of a “Republican extremist group.”
Shannon Brandt, 41, was driving an SUV when ran over Cayler Ellingson, 18, in an alley in the early hours of Sunday morning. Foster County, North Dakota, Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched at 2:35 a.m. to the alleyway where the incident occurred in the town of McHenry.
🚨 41-year-old suspected killer Shannon Brandt, who admitted to hitting 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson with his car over the teen's conservative views, was RELEASED yesterday on $50k bond. Brandt has been charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a deadly accident. pic.twitter.com/ulWpwOa5CN
— Mia Cathell (@MiaCathell) September 21, 2022
Ellingson was pronounced dead upon being transported to a local hospital from injuries sustained in the incident.
Police reported that Brandt called 911 to report he had driven over the teenager. Police allege that Brandt was intoxicated at the time of the incident and have charged him with vehicular homicide, DUI, and leaving the scene of an accident involving a fatality.
Brandt drove away from the scene of the crime and was later arrested by police at his home.
He was initially held in the Foster County jail after the judge set his bail at $50,000. At the preliminary hearing, Brandt pleaded with the judge to release him from jail and objected when the judge refused to reduce bail. Brandt unsuccessfully argued to the judge, “I have a job, a life and a house and things I don’t want to see go by the wayside — family that are very important to me.”
He eventually posted bond and was released pending his trial on Tuesday.
In documents filed with the local court, authorities allege that Brandt told a 911 emergency dispatcher that Ellingson was part of some “Republican extremist” movement and was “calling people to go after him” following some sort of political argument.
Authorities said that Ellingson called his mother shortly before being run over and asked her if she knew Brandt. She told her son that she did, but told police that she did not believe her son knew Brandt. She left immediately to pick up her son, who called her a second time just before being struck and told her that he was being chased.
Joe Biden has been whipping up feelings of anger toward Republicans who support President Donald Trump recently. In a speech in Philadelphia earlier this month, Biden said, “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundation of our republic.”