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Shannon Brandt: Outrage after Cayler Ellingson's killer freed on $50K bond

Shannon Brandt admitted to cops that he killed Cayler Ellingson because the latter was allegedly part of a 'Republican extremist group'
UPDATED SEP 22, 2022
Shannon Brandt admitted he killed Cayler Ellingson over a political dispute (Foster County sheriff/ Cayler Ellingson/Facebook)
Shannon Brandt admitted he killed Cayler Ellingson over a political dispute (Foster County sheriff/ Cayler Ellingson/Facebook)

BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA: A North Dakota man who allegedly admitted to police that he chased and killed a teenager with his vehicle over a political dispute has now been released from jail on a $50,000 bond. The tragic incident unfolded on September 18, when Shannon Brandt, 41, chased Cayler Ellingson, 18, following a street dance and ran over the teen with his SUV before calling 911. Apparently, Brandt told the dispatcher that the teen was part of a "Republican extremist group."

According to his affidavit, Brandt told the investigators he left the scene after striking Ellingson, returned briefly to call 911, and left again. Brandt also admitted to drinking alcohol and told the cops they had a political argument, claiming the teen threatened to call the mob to harm him. He was taken into custody in Foster County and charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a deadly accident. Jail records show Brandt posted a $50,000 bond on Tuesday, September 20 and was released. This has caused outrage in the community and even forced former President Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr to condemn the release on Twitter.


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Donald Trump Jr tweeted, "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… it’s as though it never happened & doesn’t matter." He added, "Of course Trump would not get the benefit because our media is broken!"

Cayler Ellingson was rushed to the hospital but was shortly pronounced dead. Brandt was arrested from his home in Glenfield on the same Sunday evening. The investigation revealed that Brandt told the first responder he and Ellingson had a political disagreement. "Brandt felt threatened and was afraid people were coming to get him. He then struck a pedestrian because he was threatening him," the court documents read. 


The court documents also state that Brandt admitted to "alcohol consumption prior to the incident." Officials said he consented to a chemical breath test which showed his blood alcohol content was above 0.08%, the legal limit to drive. Both the suspect and the victim's family arrived at the crime scene shortly after the police. Captain Bryan Niewind of the North Dakota Highway Patrol said, "The political argument claim by Brandt has not been substantiated because the investigation is still ongoing and more witnesses need to be interviewed."

Ellingson's mother Sheri Larson Ellingson told the police that her son had called her and asked if she knew Shannon Brandt. But the mother said "she knew him but did not believe her son knew him and was on her way to pick Ellingson," according to the affidavit.