Who killed cyclist Michael Sullivan? 5 years later, police still don't know

In 2013 cyclist Hamilton Michael Sullivan was chased down and killed by a truck driver and five years after the murder, police and Sullivan's family still don't know why or who did it.

Michael Sullivan was hunted down and hit by a pickup truck in 2013 and police still don't know driver

On Thursday Hamilton police once again ran through details of how 51-year-old cyclist, Michael Sullivan was chased and hit by an unknown pick-up truck driver. Police say they believe a group of people have information that could identify the driver, but haven't come forward yet. (Laura Clementson/CBC)

It's been five years since a Hamilton cyclist was deliberately hunted down and killed by an unknown driver — too long for a family wanting answers.

"Please call the Hamilton police and give our family some closure," Teresa Mummery, the sister of Michael Sullivan, said Thursday, just days before the anniversary of the incident that led to his death.

Thursday, in front of the central police station, Det. Sgt. Peter Thom ran through the details of how then, 51-year-old Sullivan was killed by a pickup truck in 2013.

Police say they're still trying to find the person behind the wheel.

Thom says investigators believe a very small group of people have information that would identify the driver of the truck, that wasn't registered to an owner.

"Those persons know exactly who they are and are encouraged to do the right and decent thing by contacting investigators."

Thom calls it a "frustrating" case.

Let Michael Sullivan's family have the answers they deserve.- Det. Sgt. Peter Thom

Nuances of who had access to the pickup truck, along with a lack of cooperation from the individuals believed to have information, have added to the frustration, says Thom. 

By reviewing the details police are hoping new information will come forward.
On Thursday in front of the central police station Det. Sgt. Peter Thom spoke to the media about the death of Michael Sullivan in hopes of bringing new information forward about his death five years ago. (Laura Clementson/CBC)

Thom also says as time passes, loyalties change and people may have "let something slip."

Over the past five years, police have made an annual appeal for people to come forward.

"Let Michael Sullivan's family have the answers they deserve. It won't bring Michael back, but it will provide them with an opportunity to at least put this part of their nightmare behind them," said Thom.

The incident

It was July 29, 2013 when Sullivan was riding his bicycle in the area of Barton Street East and Lottridge Street while doing some shopping at a second-hand computer store.

Police say one of his hobbies was to fix used computers and donate them to organizations for less-fortunate children.

Police say around 2:30 p.m. in the same area, he had a brief interaction with some people on the street and then continued about his business.

The interaction led to some "misinformation" about Sullivan's reason for being in the area that day, and was passed to the driver of the truck.

The driver then chased Sullivan through city streets while Sullivan tried to lose the driver, who then caught up to Sullivan and followed the cyclist into the back lot of a restaurant supply store located at 927 Barton St. E.

The truck then hit Sullivan, hurling him off his bike. 

Police say the driver fled without stopping to assist Sullivan.

Sullivan was found unconscious and taken to Hamilton General Hospital with a life-threatening head injury.

On Oct. 19, he was taken off life support.

Police found the weapon days later — a black Ford F150. They don't have the driver though since the registered owner of the truck sold the vehicle months before the rampage.

Thom said all people having a connection with the truck at the time have been interviewed.

Just do what you should do, what's right, not let someone, a murderer go free.- Gail Sullivan, mother of Michael Sullivan 

The driver was a man in his 20s or 30s with short hair, as previously reported by CBC News.

Surveillance video released in 2015 shows Sullivan going down city streets, trying to get away from the truck that's seen cutting in front of cars and coming close to getting hit by oncoming traffic after rushing from the alley where the truck hit Sullivan. 

Hamilton police service's Division 20 detectives initially investigated the case and was later tuned over to the Hamilton Police Major Crime Unit.

In February 2015 police offered a $50,000 reward for anyone with information, but that didn't return any results. They're still offering that reward.

Family looking for honesty 

Sullivan was a disabled father of two.

Members of his Sullivan's family were at the police station Thursday.

His mother, Gail Sullivan, told reporters her son was "a real fun guy. He always had a smile for everybody."

When asked what she believes happened on that day, she says there are about two or three different stories.

"Somebody told this guy that Michael had done something which he hadn't and this guy took off with the truck and run him," said Sullivan.
Michael Sullivan, 51, was killed by a truck driver who chased him through the streets of the east end back in July of 2013. (Hamilton police)

Sullivan's mother says she thinks investigators have been doing all that they can do.

"They haven't put it aside and just let things go," said Sullivan.

In terms of the group with supposed information, she says she's heard names, but doesn't know them.

Her message to them is to speak up.

"Just do what you should do, what's right, not let someone, a murderer go free," said Sullivan.  "As far as I'm concerned they're as guilty as he is when they know who did it and they could pinpoint him and put him where he belongs."


Laura Clementson is a producer for CBC's The National. She can be reached at laura.clementson@cbc.ca. Follow Laura on Twitter @LauraClementson.