Early Sunday morning, Shannon Brandt, 41, ran over Cayler Ellingson, 18, in an alleyway in McHenry, North Dakota, following a disagreement over politics.
Brandt reportedly fled the scene after striking Ellingson with his car, before returning to call 911. On the call with the police dispatcher, Brandt claimed that Ellingson was a member of a Republican extremist group, and he thought Ellingson was going to call people to come after him following their political dispute.
After the call, Brandt then left the scene again, this time returning to his home in Glenfield, about 12 minutes from McHenry. Authorities responded to the scene of the accident, before apprehending Brandt at his home.
Brandt told police that he had consumed alcohol, and he struck Ellingson with his vehicle after their argument over politics.
According to court documents, Ellingson had called his mom just before the incident to ask if she knew of Brandt. She confirmed that she knew Brandt, and told her son that she was coming to pick him up. Before his mom could get there, Ellingson called again, saying that “he” or “they” were after him.
That was the lost time she spoke to her son.
A person murdered a teen in McHenry, North Dakota, accusing him to be a right-wing extremist. Cayler Ellingson, 18, called his mother for help saying he was being pursued. He was found dead. The suspected killer, Shannon Brandt, is held on $50k. https://t.co/XqZTJtmVLf
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) September 20, 2022
“We are still trying to determine what, exactly, transpired at the time of crash and prior to that as well,” said North Dakota Highway Patrol Captain Bryan Niewind.
“We do not know of any witnesses,” Niewind continued. “We are still making attempts to interview potential witnesses from the street dance, people that were present prior to the crash happening.”
Brandt is being charged with vehicular homicide, DUI, and leaving the scene of a deadly accident. The judge set his bail at $50,000.
“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,” Brandt said at the bail hearing, insisting that he is not a flight risk.
Brandt would face between 10 and 20 years in prison if convicted on the vehicular homicide charge.