A North Dakota man who cops say was drunk when he ran on down and killed a teen in an alleyway claimed the 18 year old was a “Republican extremist” and had been threatening him after an argument over politics, according to police.
Shannon Brandt, 41, was charged with vehicular homicide in the death of Cayler Ellingson Sunday in McHenry, a small town two hours northwest of Fargo. Citing court documents, WDAY reported that Brandt told police the death stemmed from an argument over politics.
“He was the one who called 911 to report the crash,” said North Dakota Highway Patrol Capt. Bryan Niewind.
Brandt called 911 around 2:30 a.m. Sunday and told a dispatcher he had run down Ellingson, the site reported, citing a criminal complaint. Brandt, who police say was drunk, said Ellingson was part of a Republican extremist group and was urging others to attack Brandt after a political argument, the site reported.
Prosecutors allege Ellingson called his mom moments before he was killed to say Brandt, who she knows, was chasing him after an event described as a street dance. By the time the woman arrived at the scene, her son was dead in an alleyway. The heartbroken mother told police she does not believe her son knew his killer.
“We are still trying to determine what, exactly, transpired at the time of crash and prior to that as well,” Niewind said. “We do not know of any witnesses. We are still making attempts to interview potential witnesses from the street dance, people that were present prior to the crash happening.”
Brandt, who faces up to 20 years if convicted of the current charge, was initially held in the Statesman County Jail before posting $50,000 bond. He could face more severe charges as the investigation develops, police said.
“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 told the judge, according to WDAY.
Ellingson’s loved ones set up a GoFundMe campaign to pay for his funeral and said his parents, Sheri and Cole, and his brother, Chase, are devastated.
“Chase and Cayler are the heart of Sheri and Coles life,” wrote Nicole Clifton Geiszler. “Unfortunately, in the early hours on Sunday, September 18, 2022 their lives changed forever. Cayler was taken way too soon from them and their other son, Chase. A thing no parent should ever have to endure in their life is to lose a child.”