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Home LATEST NEWS North Dakota man Shannon Brandt released after running over teen Cayler Ellingson,...

North Dakota man Shannon Brandt released after running over teen Cayler Ellingson, court documents shown

A North Dakota man who admitted to running over and killing a teen says he did so because he thought the teen was part of a “republican extremist group” out to get him, according to court documents.

Shannon Joseph Brandt, 41, was charged with felony vehicular manslaughter and one count of leaving the scene of an accident in the death of 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson on September 18. He was also charged with driving under the influence after he exceeded the legal alcohol limit, authorities said.

The incident took place in McHenry, North Dakota, which has a population of less than 40 people.

According to an affidavit of probable cause published by Law & CrimeBrandt told investigators that he and the young man got into a verbal altercation about politics at a local street dance. “Brandt indicated that the pedestrian called out to some people and Brandt was afraid they were coming for him,” the affidavit says. “Brandt admitted to State Radio that he hit the pedestrian and that the pedestrian was part of a Republican extremist group.”

After Brandt allegedly hit Ellingson, he left the scene and went home but told police he later returned and called 911 and told dispatcher he “hit the pedestrian because the pedestrian was threatening him.”

He then left again before first responders arrived, authorities said. Ellingson was found lying in the street and was rushed to a hospital, but later died of his injuries.

His mother gave investigators a drastically different version of events, court documents show. She said the teen had called around 2:41 am to ask if her parents knew Brandt, which they did. She then called back a short time later and “stated that ‘he’ or ‘they’ were after him,” and after that she was unable to reach him.

A GoFundMe created to help Ellingson’s family pay for funeral expenses, described the teenager as a “wonderful and loving” son and said he was “taken away too soon”. The fundraiser had raised nearly $28,000 as of Thursday morning.

The teenager’s publicly available Facebook profile shows that he was studying to be an ultrasound technician after graduating from high school just a few months ago.

Brandt, who was first arrested at his home for driving under the influence and later charged with the felonies related to the hit-and-run, has since been released from the Foster County Jail on $50,000 bond.



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