Police debunk key claim of man who killed teenager who he thought was ‘Republican extremist’: ‘No evidence’

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A top North Dakota law enforcement official revealed Thursday there is “no evidence” suggesting teenager Cayler Ellingson was part of a “Republican extremist group.”

What are the details?

The probable cause affidavit states that Shannon Brandt, 41, told a 911 dispatcher he used his car to mow down Ellingson — who later died from his injuries — because the 18-year-old was a “Republican extremist” and was threatening him.

“Brandt admitted to striking [Ellingson] with his car because he had a political argument with the pedestrian and believed the pedestrian was calling people to come get him,” the affidavit reads. “Brandt admitted to leaving the scene of the incident and returning shortly after where he called 911.”

The court document also explains what Brandt told emergency dispatchers.

“Brandt admitted to State Radio that he hit the pedestrian and that the pedestrian was part of a Republican extremist group,” the probable cause affidavit states.

But according to North Dakota Highway Patrol Capt. Bryan Niewind, there is no evidence to support Brandt’s claim.

“There is no evidence to support the claim Brandt made about Ellingson,” Niewind said in a statement.

“This remains an active investigation and as evidence is gathered and reviewed, we will consult with the Foster County State’s Attorney to determine if Brandt’s current charges will remain as currently charged or if additional charges will be brought against him,” Niewind added.

Additionally, witnesses who were around both individuals before the incident did not corroborate Brandt’s claim about a political argument, the Associated Press noted.

What is Brandt charged with?

Brandt has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death.

He was controversially released from jail this week after posting $50,000 bond.

In his appeal to the judge, Brandt cited having “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.”

Brandt has not yet entered a plea for the charges against him. He is next due in court on Oct. 11.

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