Crime and Safety

North Dakota man confessed to killing a teenager on purpose in a hit-and-run incident due to different political beliefs

MCHENRY, N.D. – A North Dakota man faces many counts following a hit-and-run that resulted in the death of an 18-year-old male. The suspect reportedly informed deputies that he struck the victim with his vehicle because the two had a political dispute.

Foster County deputies were dispatched to an alleyway in McHenry, North Dakota, where a hit-and-run occurred. Cayler Ellingson, an 18-year-old from Grace City, was named on GoFundMe as the victim of the accident.

Sunday at 2:35 a.m., according to court filings, Shannon Brandt, 41, contacted 911 to report hitting a pedestrian who was threatening him. Brandt informed State Radio that the pedestrian was a member of a Republican extremist organization and that he feared they would “come after him.”

KVLY reported that after investigating the collision site, deputies headed to Brandt’s home in Glenfield, approximately 12 minutes away.

Brandt allegedly confirmed to authorities that he had ingested alcohol before to the incident and indicated that he hit Ellingson with his vehicle because they had a political dispute. Brandt allegedly stated that he initially fled the scene of the collision, returned to call 911, and then left again before deputies arrived.

According to court filings, immediately prior to the collision, Ellingson called his mother and inquired whether she knew who Brandt was. She responded affirmatively and informed her son that she was on her way to fetch him up.

Court documents indicate that shortly thereafter, Ellingson called his mother to report that “he” or “they” were pursuing him. After the second phone call, the 18-year-old was no longer reachable.

Later, Ellingson was declared deceased at the hospital.

Brandt has been charged with vehicular murder and driving under the influence of alcohol. According to court records, a judge set bond at $50,000.

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