Eighteen-year-old Cayler Ellingson was hit and killed by a man driving a car in McHenry, North Dakota.
Now, that’s a horrible story, but the initial facts coming out on the case make it even more troubling: It wasn’t an accident.
Ellingson had been out at a street dance when he called his mother to rescue him, because he said he was being chased by 41-year-old Shannon Brandt. But by the time she reached him, Cayler was dead. What Brandt allegedly admitted about the killing was chilling.
“He was the one who called 911 to report the crash,” said North Dakota Highway Patrol Capt. Bryan Niewind.
Court papers show Brandt called 911 around 2:30 a.m. Sunday and told the 911 dispatcher that he just hit Ellingson, claiming the teen was part of a Republican extremist group and was calling people to come get Brandt after a political argument.
Ellingson’s mom told police her son called her just before the crash, asking if she knew Brandt, which she does. She does not believe her son knew him.
“We are still trying to determine what, exactly, transpired at the time of crash and prior to that as well,” explained Niewind.
Police say Brandt was drunk when he hit and killed Ellingson with his SUV in an alleyway.
Court papers called it a “politically motivated attack.”
Brandt was charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a deadly accident. He could get a minimum of 10 years for that charge, because he has a prior DUI–the maximum is 20 years–but the police said that the investigation was ongoing and more serious charges might be recommended.
Brandt objected to setting the bail at $50,000, claiming he wasn’t a flight risk, but considering the charge, that’s pretty low already.
A family friend of the Ellingsons has set up a GoFundMe for the family.
It’s early and we don’t know all the facts yet. But what we know so far has to be concerning, when you have someone killed like this, particularly when it comes in the wake of Joe Biden demonizing millions of Republican Americans as extremists. We said what a danger it was, from the moment Biden gave his nationwide address, that he was inciting people. It gives people who are on the edge a push to act on their baser instincts. Liberal media including MSNBC added to that by saying that all Republicans were a “threat to democracy,” they were “evil,” and “we are at war.” I don’t know if that influenced Brandt here, although the use of “Republican extremist group” certainly sounds like it’s parroting Joe Biden. But I do know that Biden’s words have been inciting all kinds of attacks on Republicans on social media, and it’s out of control.
“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,” Brandt told the judge. I’m thinking that 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson had those things as well — until Brandt allegedly took them away from him allegedly because of politics.