Shannon Brandt admitted to hitting Cayler Ellingson with his vehicle Sept. 18 and left the scene before returning, calling 911 and leaving again, according to a police affidavit. Brandt was subsequently charged with felony criminal vehicular homicide involving a motor vehicle and duty in accident involving death, but Foster County State’s Attorney Kara Brinster replaced the first charge with the more severe felony charge of murder.
Brandt spoke during a phone call with police about the incident being intentional and was “visibly intoxicated” at his house before police arrived, according to a Thursday affidavit. Brandt claimed Ellingson was “part of a Republican extremist group” and had called people Brant was scared “were coming to get him,” an earlier affidavit said.
Former President Donald Trump mentioned Ellingson’s death at a Sept. 23 rally in North Carolina, saying, “This guy ran him down and not one mainstream media network has even mentioned this horrible crime,” according to Fox News. North Dakota Highway Patrol Capt. Bryan Niewind told the outlet “no evidence” indicated Ellingson belonged to a “Republican extremist group.”
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