Sunday, November 19, 2006

Cyclists join in tribute ride for enthusiast shot to death

Photographs by : Leah Hennel, Calgary Herald
Sherri Zickefoose, Calgary Herald
Published: Monday, November 20, 2006
With the wind at their backs and a fallen cyclist in their hearts, friends of Brian Kullman pedalled from Bowness to Inglewood on Sunday to honour his memory.

More than 150 friends donned jerseys and Spandex shorts for a memorial ride in tribute to the 39-year-old who was shot to death Nov. 7.

Members of Kullman's beloved Synergy Racing Cycle Club were out in full force at 12:30 p.m. to guide the riders, cycling along one of Kullman's favourite routes. They started from Cadence Cafe on Bowness Road, rode along Memorial Drive and continued on to his Inglewood townhouse.

"I'm completely floored by how many people turned up today," said friend Reid Dalgleish, one of the ride organizers.

Riders lined up first to sign a cycling jersey, which will be presented to Kullman's parents during another gathering tonight at Ceili's Irish Pub.

When the riders reached Kullman's townhouse in Inglewood Grove for a short remembrance ceremony, they were greeted by their friend's black helmet and a memorial poster hanging from the garage door.

Cyclists bowed their heads for a moment of silence before sharing memories of the dedicated cyclist known for his enthusiasm and support of fellow bike riders.

Friend Graeme Thomson urged people to remember Kullman's affectionate nature.

"BK loved to hug people randomly, so before you leave, hug someone next to you," Thomson said, sparking the crowd to open their arms to each other.

Family members were awed by the turnout.

"I'm absolutely moved, as are all of us," said Kullman's uncle, Don Cross, who addressed the crowd as the family spokesman.

"We're all totally blown away and grateful for everything you've done. It makes my heart pound that he has this many friends," Cross said.

"I think we all hope we're loved by people around us. What greater way to show that than this. That says a lot."

Kullman's large circle of friends say they're stunned that a largely unknown business acquaintance who knew Kullman for seven years has been charged in his death.

Bill James Pappas, 35, was arrested last Wednesday at the Calgary International Airport with a one-way ticket to Italy.

He is charged with second-degree murder, arson and fraud.

Suspicious banking activity involving Kullman's account helped lead detectives to the suspect.

Pappas and Kullman, 39, had known each other for seven years, police said. Kullman, a well services programmer, had financial dealings with him in the past.

Police recovered a gun, which is thought to be the murder weapon. They have sent it to the crime lab.

Pappas was a suspect early on, police said. Some of Kullman's friends mentioned the suspect by name in their online blogs, with a plea to contact police with information about him. It's alleged the suspect visited the home as others were leaving the night Kullman was last seen.

A fire was deliberately set in Kullman's Inglewood home Nov. 8 to destroy evidence, police said.

His silver Mercedes-Benz station wagon is believed to have been used by the suspect for days before it was recovered at a southeast parking lot.

Kullman's body was found by hikers Nov. 10 near the side of Highway 66 in Kananaskis Country, near Elbow Falls.