Shannon Brandt, 41, from North Dakota allegedly admitted to fatally striking 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson following ‘a political argument’. Cops now say that wasn’t the case
Police in North Dakota said that there’s ‘no evidence’ showing that politics were involved when a man fatally struck a teenager with his SUV following what he admitted was a ‘political argument.’
The incident transpired Sunday in the small town of McHenry, and saw 41-year-old Shannon Brandt – who fled the scene of the fatal crash – charged with criminal vehicular homicide.
He told police he hit 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson with his SUV during a street party that spilled over from Saturday night, and fled the scene because the then-dying teen had threatened him.
An affidavit, meanwhile, says Brandt fled the scene after the collision, returned and called 911, and then left again, driving 10 miles to his home in a nearby city, where he was eventually arrested by cops.
On the phone, Brandt told dispatchers Ellingson was ‘part of a Republican extremist group,’ according to court documents. As to why he fled the scene, he said the teen was ‘threatening’ him and believed he was ‘calling people to come get him.’
The story has since attracted the attention of well-known Republicans, such as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who have slammed the the crash as being the result of Joe Biden slamming ‘MAGA Republicans’ a threat to the country in an impassioned speech in front of the White House earlier this month.
North Dakota Highway Patrol Captain Bryan Niewind may have quelled those flames Thursday somewhat when he revealed to Fox News that so far his department’s investigations have ‘uncovered no evidence to support the claim’ the murder was politically motivated.
18-year-old Cayler Ellingson was struck by a car following ‘a political argument’ last Sunday
Brandt told dispatchers Ellingson was ‘part of a Republican extremist group,’ according to court documents. As to why he fled the scene, he said the teen was ‘threatening’ him and believed he was ‘calling people to come get him’
‘We have uncovered no evidence to support Mr. Brandt’s claim on the 911 call he made that Cayler Ellingson is a Republican extremist, nor that this incident involved politics,’ Niewind told the outlet.
‘This is a terrible tragedy for the Ellingson family. We continue to investigate what led up to the incident, the crash itself and the claim made by Brandt. But, at this time there has been no evidence to corroborate Brandt’s statement.’
The officer did not elaborate on what findings led him and the department to arrive at that assessment -but it could deal the fact that parents of the teenage victim told police that they were previously acquainted with Brandt.
It is unclear how the pair knew the perpetrator, who admitted to being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the smash.
Ellingson, meanwhile, called his mother twice during the incident – the first time to ask if she knew who Brandt was, and the second time to warn that ‘he’ or ‘they’ were chasing him, an affidavit says.
Ellingson’s parents, who have not been named, told police they didn’t believe that Cayler had met him before the fatal encounter.
It is unclear what Brandt was doing at the small street party on a dirt road off of near Johnston Street and Jones Ave (pictured), in the small rural town with a population just over 60
DailyMail.com attempted to obtain 911 calls and transcripts detailing Brandt’s conversations with dispatchers, but authorities have said those records are sealed since the investigation is ongoing. State law typically classifies 911 transcripts as open records.
Brandt was released after two nights in jail after posting $50,000 bond Tuesday.
He left the scene of the incident and then came back to call 911, according to a the affidavit, which has been widely shared on social media amid widespread public outcry over the incident, which was initially perceived as political.
‘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,’ the court document states.
‘Brandt admitted to leaving the scene of the incident and returning shortly after where he called 911.’
Ellingson’s parents, who have not been named, told police the family knew the murderer, but didn’t believe that he had met Brandt before the fatal encounter
The affidavit further reveals that Ellingson’s mother told investigators the teen called her shortly before the incident, which transpired around 2:35 am, to ask if the family knew Brandt.
She said her son called back a short time later to tell her he was being ‘chased’ by Brandt. The mother couldn’t reach her son after that, according to the document.
It is unclear what Brandt was doing at the small street party on a dirt road off of near Johnston Street and Jones Ave, in the small rural town with a population just over 60.
Neighbors have since told reporters that Brandt was unstable, saying that the 41-year-old has been ‘nuts his whole life’ and ‘should have been in a [mental health] institute.’
Ellingson’s parents did not comment on the extent of their relationship with the man, who is currently free as police probe the murder.
Brandt, meanwhile, has remained adamant to police he attacked Ellingson following a ‘a political argument’ and believed the teen ‘was calling people to come get him.’
However, the facts of the case so far, according to Captain Niewind, do not support Brandt’s claims.
Brandt left the scene of the incident and then came back to call 911, according to a the affidavit, which has been widely shared on social media amid widespread public outcry over the incident, which was initially perceived as political
Brandt, meanwhile, who also faces charges of leaving the scene of a crash involving death after twice ‘failing to render aid’ to a dying Ellinson after the initial smash and then upon returning to the site to dial cops, is out on the streets on bail.
Conservatives have since criticized the mass media’s silence surrounding the murder, with The Republican National Committee even publically suggesting the crash was the result of Biden calling ‘MAGA Republicans’ a threat to the country in his widely seen speech in front of the Capitol on September 1.
‘Democrats have tried to explain away the harmful rhetoric perpetuated by Biden in front of millions, but as a family mourns the loss of their teenager because of his political beliefs, it’s clear the damage has already been done,’ the committee said in its statement.
In Texas, Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Lance Gooden both slammed law enforcement’s treatment of Ellingson’s death in releasing his killer days after the death.
Cruz, R-Texas, tweeted: ‘Leftist murders a teenager because he was a Republican. Then, he’s promptly released on bail. Twisted. Dems’ hateful rhetoric continues to bear toxic fruit.’
Gooden, meanwhile, another GOP figure to speak out about the killing, similarly slammed the situation, blaming Biden and the left for allegedly encouraging such behavior.
A search warrant on Brandt’s home asserts that the 41-year-old failed to render aid to the dying teen who was found slain in an alleyway, fled the fatal hit-and-run crime scene, and returned to his residence in a different city ten miles away, where he was later arrested
‘First, Joe Biden called MAGA Republicans a threat. Now, 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson was killed for being a Republican. Biden must condemn leftest violence,’ Gooden, 39, wrote.
The case also caught the attention of the son of former President Donald Trump, Donald Jr., who slammed the American mass media as ‘broken’ for their sparse coverage of the story.
‘An 18 y/o conservative is murdered by 41 year old leftist & the media is totally silent. No connection to Joe Biden and his insane speech of just 2 weeks ago,’ Trump, 44, tweeted Tuesday.
‘It’s as though it never happened & doesn’t matter. Of course Trump would not get that benefit b/c our media is broken!’
The case caught the attention of the son of former President Trump, Donald Trump Jr., as well as a slew of other conservatives
In Texas, Senator Ted Cruz slammed law enforcement’s treatment of Ellingson’s death in releasing his killer days after the death
Georgia Firebrand Greene – who has been outspoken in her support of protecting Americans’ rights – wrote that the incident served as confirmation that Biden had declared right on conservatives with his heated words against ‘MAGA’ Americans
It comes after Biden declared Donald Trump is a ‘threat to the country’ in a speech that contained his harshest rhetoric to date about his predecessor in the Oval Office and the MAGA movement
Georgia Firebrand Greene – a self-professed ‘Christian nationalist’ who has been outspoken in her support of protecting Americans’ rights – wrote that the incident served as confirmation that Biden had declared right on conservatives with his heated words against ‘MAGA’ Americans.
‘A left wing political terrorist is walking free after intentionally killing an 18-year-old because he was a Republican just weeks after Biden declares war on MAGA,’ Greene said in a tweet.
‘Not one (Jan. 6, 2021) defendant is charged with murder, yet they are rotting pretrial in jail not allowed to post bail.’
In response, The White House said it condemns politically motivated violence.
‘As the president has made clear, this is a nation that rejects violence as a political tool and we do not encourage violence,’ the White House said in a statement following the outpour of discourse surrounding Ellingson’s murder.
Friends of Wellingson are mourning the loss of a life loss of a teen they hailed as an ‘exceptional child’ that had a bright future.
A GoFundMe account for the family has since garnered a whopping $51,297, passing its $50,000 goal for funeral expenses Sunday
Brandt, meanwhile, who is due in court next month, told a judge that he disagreed with the $50,000 bail he was granted – a markedly low sum for a murder – saying he had a life to get back to.
‘I have a job, a life and a house and things that I don’t exactly want to see go by the wayside — family that are very important to me,’ the alleged murderer reportedly said.
Friends of Wellingson, meanwhile, are mourning the loss of a life loss of a teen they hailed as an ‘exceptional child’ that had a bright future.
He graduated from Carrington High School in the spring of 2022 and recently began working to become an ultrasound technician. The high school held a moment of silence for the teen Friday night during its homecoming football game.
A GoFundMe account for the family has since garnered a whopping $51,297, passing its $50,000 goal for funeral expenses Sunday.
Police’s investigation is currently ongoing.