Man admits to killing 18-year-old after political dispute, court docs allege

Shannon Brandt, 41, has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide and driving while...
Shannon Brandt, 41, has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated after a hit-and-run crash that killed 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson.(Source: Stutsman County Correctional Center via CNN)
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 12:16 AM HST
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MCHENRY, N.D. (KVLY/Gray News) - A North Dakota man is facing multiple charges after a hit-and-run that killed an 18-year-old man. The suspect reportedly told deputies he hit the man with his car because the two had a political argument.

Foster County deputies were called to a hit-and-run that happened in an alleyway in McHenry, North Dakota. The crash killed an 18-year-old man from Grace City, identified as Cayler Ellingson on GoFundMe.

Court documents say 41-year-old Shannon Brandt called 911 at 2:35 a.m. Sunday to report that he had hit a pedestrian because he was threatening him. Brandt told State Radio that the pedestrian was part of a Republican extremist group and that he was afraid they were “coming to get him.”

After visiting the crash site, deputies went to Brandt’s house in Glenfield, about 12 minutes from the scene, KVLY reports.

Brandt allegedly admitted to deputies he had consumed alcohol before the incident and stated he hit Ellingson with his car because he had a political argument with him. Brandt also allegedly admitted that he initially left the crash scene, returned to call 911, then left again before deputies could arrive.

Court documents said just before the crash, Ellingson called his mom and asked if they knew who Brandt was. She said yes and told her son she was on her way to pick him up.

A short time later, court documents say Ellingson called his mom again to say that “he” or “they” were chasing him. It was after that second call that the 18-year-old could not be reached again.

Ellingson was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Brandt has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated. Court records show a judge set bail at $50,000.