When a North Dakota Teens Killing Became a Right-Wing Talking Point
There were no known witnesses when Shannon Brandt and Cayler Ellingson got into an argument in the blurry hours after last call at Bucks n Does Bar & Grill in September. And no one but Mr. Brandt could say with certainty what led him to run over Mr. Ellingson with his Ford Explorer, crushing him to death in a gravel alley.
But the people of McHenry, a town of 64 in sparsely populated Foster County, N.D., have gotten used to hearing from people who think they know.
They include former President Donald J. Trump, who denounced the killing of Mr. Ellingson, an 18-year-old recent high school graduate, at the hands of a deranged Democrat maniac who was angry that Cayler was a Republican in a Truth Social post. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia described Mr. Brandt on Twitter as a Democrat political terrorist and cited the case as evidence that Democrats want Republicans dead, and theyve already started the killings.
Mr. Trump and Ms. Greene were among a chorus of Republican politicians including several members of Congress and the attorney general of North Dakota who rushed to condemn Mr. Brandt. They relied on a handful of early news stories that cited a state highway patrol officers report, which suggested Mr. Brandt killed Mr. Ellingson because he believed he was a Republican extremist.