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Bryan Niewind

There is little indication that an 18-year-old who died after being struck by an SUV in North Dakota was a political extremist like the driver claimed. Investigators say none of the witnesses they have interviewed support the idea that there was a political argument beforehand. Shannon Brandt struck Cayler Ellingson with his vehicle on Sept. 18 in McHenry. A family friend said the teen wasn’t active in politics. Court documents said Brandt told a 911 dispatcher that he felt threatened after having a political argument with Ellingson, and that he believed the teen was part of a "Republican extremist group.” North Dakota Highway Patrol Capt. Bryan Niewind says authorities have talked to dozens of witnesses, and the confrontation doesn't appear political at all.

North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley is condemning the violent death of an 18-year-old allegedly struck by a man who said he drove his SUV into the victim after a political argument. According to a probably cause affidavit, Shannon Brandt told a 911 dispatcher that he struck Cayler Ellingson early Sunday in McHenry because the teenager was threatening him, and that the teen was part of a “Republican extremist group.” Investigators say they have been unable to corroborate Brandt's claims. He has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death. Officials say a breath test Sunday showed Brandt's blood alcohol level was above the legal limit to drive.

Court documents say a driver charged with fatally striking an 18-year-old in North Dakota allegedly told investigators he purposely hit the teen with his SUV after they had a political argument. Cayler Ellingson was struck and killed following a street dance in McHenry early Sunday. The driver accused of striking Ellingson in an alley, 41-year-old Shannon Brandt, is charged in Foster County with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death. A probable cause affidavit says Brandt told investigators he had been drinking alcohol before striking Ellingson and thought the teen was calling people to do him harm after they argued and that he felt threatened. Brandt was released from jail Tuesday after posting $50,000 bond.

The search for a missing teen came to a devastating end on Tuesday, when the 17-year-old’s body and his crashed car were found near Fargo.

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