BISMARCK, N.D. (KVRR) — North Dakota Republican leaders and the state GOP are issuing statements about the death of 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson.
Court documents show 41-year-old Shannon Brandt told State Radio that he hit a pedestrian who he claimed was part of a Republican extremist group.
Brandt is accused of hitting Ellingson, of Grace City, with his SUV in an alley just before three a.m. Sunday after a dispute in McHenry, North Dakota following a street dance.
He has been charged with two felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide and duty in accident involving death.
Brandt bailed out of jail on a $50,000 bond.
North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley’s statement:
“The loss of a young life is always a tragedy, under any circumstances. Outrageously, in this case, it is alleged that the suspect admitted that his actions were motivated by a dispute over political beliefs. There is no place in civil society for this hateful violence. I call on all North Dakotans to join me in praying for Cayler Ellingson and his family and condemning any and all politically motivated crime.”
“I also call on all Americans, including political leaders, to end this type of rhetoric. Political violence has become all too common and must come to an end.
“As with all crimes of this nature, jurisdiction originates with the independently elected State’s Attorney. That protocol was followed in this instance as well. As my office has made clear to the Foster County State’s Attorney’s office from the earliest hours following this incident, I stand ready to assist with the resources of the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office, including the use of my assistant attorneys general to help prosecute the case. Our Bureau of Criminal Investigation has been working on this investigation from the beginning and will continue to do so.”
Gov. Doug Burgum (R) North Dakota Tweeted:
“Tonight we pray for the family of Cayler Ellingson in the aftermath of their tragic and unnecessary loss. Violence is never the answer to disagreements of any kind, including political, and those who perpetrate it must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
“The NDGOP sends its deepest condolences to the family of Caylor Ellingson. It appears this young man’s life was senselessly cut short from an act of violence motivated by political differences. We deplore violent rhetoric and violent actions. We need to hold each other accountable and set solid examples for our youth. Our heartfelt sorrow runs deep for this tragic loss of life.”