Man Who Admitted To Murdering Republican Teenager Over Politics Is Freed From Prison, Report Says
Shannon Brandt
Foster County Sheriff

The 41-year-old man who allegedly admitted to murdering a Republican teenager over politics has been released from jail after posting $50,000 bond.

Shannon Brandt only spent a few days in a Stutsman County Jail after being charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash involving a death after he allegedly hit and killed Cayler Ellingson on Sunday in McHenry, a small town two hours northwest of Fargo. He posted bond on Tuesday.

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, claimed Ellingson was part of a “Republican extremist group” and was urging others to attack Brandt after a political argument.

“Brandt admitted to striking the pedestrian with his car because he had a political argument with the pedestrian and believed the pedestrian was calling people to come get him,” court documents state. “Brandt admitted to leaving the scene of the incident and returning shortly after where he called 911.”

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.”

The attack comes just a couple of weeks after President Joe Biden (D) declared that “MAGA Republicans,” or people who support former President Donald Trump, represented “an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”

“An 18 y/o conservative is murdered by 41 year old leftist & the media is totally silent,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted. “No connection to Joe Biden and his insane speech of just 2 weeks ago… it’s as though it never happened & doesn’t matter. Of course Trump would not get that benefit b/c our media is broken!”

Greg Wilson contributed to this report.

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