MCHENRY, ND – A 41-year-old man was arrested earlier in September after authorities say he admitted to intentionally hitting and killing an 18-year-old boy with his SUV in an alleyway in McHenry, with court documents showing the suspect was allegedly motivated to kill the teen due to the young victim being a Republican.
Court documents show that 41-year-old Shannon Brandt called 911 at approximately 2:30 a.m. on September 18th, reportedly admitting to the dispatcher that he intentionally hit 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson with his vehicle. Brandt, who’d apparently been intoxicated at the time of the killing, attempted to justify his actions to the 911 dispatcher by claiming Ellingson was part of a “Republican extremist group.”
The fatal incident occurred following a “street dance” that was being held in McHenry, with officials saying the victim was walking on the sidewalk along “Jones Street directly east of Hohneck street,” when Brandt hit him with his vehicle.
Prosecutors say that shortly before Ellingson was killed, the victim called his mother to come help him, reportedly telling her that he was being chased Brandt, while also asking her whether she personally knew the man chasing him.
Apparently, Ellingson’s mother confirmed she personally knew who Brandt was, but informed police she didn’t believe her son was familiar with him prior to the incident that led up to his death.
North Dakota Highway Patrol Captain Bryan Niewind hasn’t delved into too many specifics of the case, telling reporters, “We are still trying to determine what, exactly, transpired at the time of crash and prior to that as well.”
Captain Niewind added, “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.”
On September 19th, Brandt was officially charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a deadly accident, which the vehicular homicide charge carries a minimum of 10 years in prison, but no greater than 20 years. Officials say more serious charges could be brought forth as the investigation develops.
Despite the serious nature of the charges, Brandt’s bail was set at only $50,ooo – which the accused killer had the audacity to object to during his hearing, telling the judge, “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.”
Ellingson’s murder comes at a time where Democrats – including Joe Biden – have been asserting that MAGA Republicans pose an existential threat to democracy and are prone to extremist violence – yet, Democrats have been silent on this alleged politically-motivated killing of a young conservative.
According to the deceased victim’s Facebook profile, he’d just graduated high school this past May and started taking Diagnostic Medical Sonography courses in August to become an ultrasound tech. A GoFundMe account has been established to help Ellingson’s family with funeral-related expenses.