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Dozens of cyclists gathered at a memorial to Darcy Sheppard on Tuesday, after the Crown dropped charges against Michael Bryant. (Peter Power/Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)
Dozens of cyclists gathered at a memorial to Darcy Sheppard on Tuesday, after the Crown dropped charges against Michael Bryant. (Peter Power/Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

Couriers and comrades mourn Darcy Sheppard at vigil Add to ...

Mourners placed a wilted rose, among other flowers, on the handles of a white bicycle near Bloor Street and Avenue Road in memory of Darcy Allan Sheppard, the 33-year-old bike courier who died last August after an altercation with Michael Bryant.

Tuesday's impromptu vigil came after word spread through the bicycle-courier community that the Crown had dropped all charges against Ontario's former attorney-general.

With police watching, about 100 cyclists gathered in silence at the scene of Mr. Sheppard's death.

"A man has been killed and this memorial was set to memorialize him," said Marli Epp, a spokeswoman for the Toronto Bike Messenger Association.

"My hope was to bring people together who are cyclists and his friends and anyone who is touched by this."

Michael Louis Johnson, a 41-year-old bartender, rode in on his bike and played a song on his trumpet called A Requiem for Justice, a piece he wrote to cope with Mr. Sheppard's death.

"I play trumpet because I think it's important not to respond in violence. For my own health, I try to play and not get mad," he said.

Mr. Johnson never met Mr. Sheppard; but as a cyclist, he was touched by the death. He expressed frustration over the Crown's statement, which suggested Mr. Sheppard had a history of aggression toward motorists.

"If someone swears at me, I don't smash a bar glass in their face. If someone punches me in the face, do I take out a gun and blow his face off? No, if you're scared, you throw your [keys] park and get out and run."

Ms. Epp said Mr. Sheppard was a troubled man but had promise.

"He was a good person. He was on the road to a lot of good things in his life. He battled a lot of adversity and he was on the up and up," she said during the vigil.

"It was stolen from him. He didn't have a chance."

The memorial ended with the cyclists riding down Bloor Street, accompanied by police.

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