Family awaits justice three years after man chased and run down in alley
Michael Sullivan suffered fatal head injury
It has been three years since Michael Sullivan was killed by strangers over a misunderstanding — and despite a $50,000 police reward for information, his family is still waiting for answers.
“The first year we were lost. The second year we were sad. The third year we’re mad. We’re angry. It’s taking too long for anyone to come forward,” his sister, Teresa Mummery, said Friday.
Sullivan, 51, had been on his bike in the Barton Street East and Lottridge Street area on July 29, 2013 when he was chased and run down by a black Ford F150 pickup truck in an alley, leaving him with a head injury that led to his death.
Police say the chase occurred after a brief interaction that led to some misinformation being passed to the driver of that truck. For three years, they have declined to elaborate.
But over the years, the Sullivan family has said they believe it was a vigilante-style killing — that the driver had mistakenly believed Michael was a child molester.
It began with a woman who wrongly thought Sullivan was taking cellphone photos of her young daughter near Barton and Lottridge streets.
But Sullivan’s mother said he had in fact been texting his grown son and, when approached by the little girl, had simply pretended playfully to snap her photo.
“(Michael’s) phone doesn’t even have a working camera,” his mom, Gail Sullivan, said at this time last year.
But the girl’s mother did not know that, Gail said, and she confronted Sullivan, accusing him of snapping pictures of her daughter without permission.
A crowd gathered and Sullivan left on his bicycle. Someone called 911, Gail says she was told.
A short time later, a man driving a black Ford F150 pickup truck and armed with this erroneous information, began racing along Barton, hunting for Sullivan — and eventually ran him down.
“They took it upon themselves to (be) judge and jury and kill my brother,” Mummery said.
In the years since his death, police have released snippets of surveillance footage showing key moments of the deadly chase.
Crime Stoppers released a re-enactment video in 2014, hoping to jog memories.
But the case is slowly growing cold.
“Investigators are keen to conclude this case for the Sullivan family and are confident that a small group of individuals have information that will lead to an arrest,” police said in a press release Friday, appealing that those people come forward.
Before heading out to a small family memorial for Sullivan Friday, Mummery said she is hopeful this will be the last year his family will have to wait for answers.
“This has to end … it’s just too long, too much,” she said, choking up. “He is a grandfather of two now, that he never got to meet. Since he was killed, both his children have had a baby. They’re never going to know their grandfather.”
Michael Sullivan, 51, was on his bike