A North Dakota man is being held on charges of vehicular homicide after killing a young man over a political dispute.
41-year-old Shannon Brandt chased 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson through the small town of McHenry, North Dakota. Brandt was drunk at the time of the homicide, according to law enforcement.
Prosecutors allege that Ellingson called his mother to come rescue him as Brandt was chasing him through the gravel-packed allies of McHenry after a local street dance had ended [InForum]. The alleged attacker called 911 on himself around 2:30 am and told the dispatcher that he struck Ellingson, according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol. As part of his reasoning, Brandt claimed the 18-year-old was part of a “Republican extremist group.”
The investigation is still ongoing.
The fatal attack comes amidst heated national rhetoric against conservatives and Republicans. President Joe Biden has called “MAGA Republicans” a “threat to democracy” in several public speeches and addresses. Biden delivered an infamous speech in September with a blood red background to proclaim his political opposition the enemy of democracy.
Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre doubled down on this assessment in a statement to the press, saying, “The president thinks there is an extremist threat to our democracy. The president has been clear as he can be on that particular piece…when we talk about our democracy, when we talk about our freedoms. The way that he sees it is the MAGA Republicans are the most energized part of the Republican Party. This is an extreme threat to our democracy, to our freedom…”
North Dakota is one of the least populated states in the Union. It is a deep “red” state that consistently votes for Republican politicians – but has had a strange penchant for liberal oddities and national headline stories in the past year. Last month, the Fargo (ND) school board made a splash when they decided to remove the pledge of allegiance in their meetings by a vote of 7-2. This was later reversed after both local and national public outcry.
Another North Dakota man was found guilty of stabbing and choking a 14-year-old girl back in June 2021. Last week the decision was made by a jury to convict the 24-year-old aggressor of felony murder, robbery and aggravated assault of a young Jupiter Paulsen. The brutality of the crime shocked the placid town of Fargo where the crime took place.
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