GLENFIELD, N.D. – EXCLUSIVE: Neighbors of the North Dakota man who allegedly admitted to mowing down 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson with an SUV describe Shannon Brandt as being “nuts his whole life” and someone who had mental health conditions.
The incident happened early Sunday morning after Brandt, 41, and Ellingson were at a local bar’s street dance. An affidavit states that Brandt told the 911 operator that an individual was threatening him, adding that Ellingson was part of a “Republican extremist group.”
Ellingson was seriously injured and later died at a local hospital. Brandt was charged with criminal vehicular homicide, as well as leaving the scene of a crash involving a death after the incident.
North Dakota Highway Patrol Captain Bryan Niewind told Fox News Digital on Thursday that there’s “no evidence” supporting Brandt’s claim that the teenager was part of a “Republican extremist group.”
Brandt posted a $50,000 bond and was released on Tuesday.
Fox News Digital spoke with several of Brandt’s neighbors on Saturday, who asked to remain anonymous.
One neighbor said that Brandt has been “nuts his whole life” and “should have been in a [mental health] institute.”
The neighbor also said Brandt’s bail was “extremely low” for what he allegedly did, adding that it should have been higher, and saying that the 41-year-old “had too much to drink” the night of the incident. When Brandt is drunk, the neighbor alleged, he goes on “rampages.”
Four of Brandt’s neighbors agreed that his mental health contributed to the incident, and said they don’t believe the incident was motivated by politics.
Another one of Brandt’s neighbors who knows both families well described the incident in the extremely close-knit community as “tragic.”
“I can’t get my head around it. I still don’t know,” the neighbor said.
“That’s all anybody can talk about right now. I mean, it’s only been a week,” the neighbor added.
Speaking about the incident, the neighbor alleged that Brandt’s accusation of Ellingson being part of a “Republican extremist group” was an excuse, and not the reason he allegedly hit the teenager.
The neighbor said he was sitting close to Brandt at the bar around two and a half hours before the incident happened, and said nothing seemed off.
The incident happened at around 2:55 a.m. Sunday morning.
“Like I said, this happened over two and a half hours after we left [the bar]. So I don’t know what happened after that,” the neighbor added.
The probable cause affidavit states that police went to Brandt’s residence in Glenfield where he talked to officers and “admitted to consuming alcohol prior to the incident.”
Brandt’s blood-alcohol level was 0.08, a breathalyzer test later showed, the court document states.
According to documents obtained by Fox News Digital, Brandt has had prior arrests.
He was arrested for unlawful possession of alcohol and fleeing a peace officer on foot in October 2006, and was also arrested for a DUI with actual physical control in February 2002, according to records.
He pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of alcohol and the DUI charge. Court records show a judgment was entered for the charge of fleeing a peace officer, but doesn’t specify if he was found guilty or if the charge was dismissed.
Fox News Digital has reached out to Brandt. No attorney has been listed for him.
Fox News’ Stephanie Pagones and Louis Casiano contributed to this report.