Rodger Kotanko Family and Lawyer Brief Media on His Killing By Toronto Police

18 November 2021

3 min read

TheGunBlog.ca — The family of Rodger Kotanko and their lawyer livestreamed their first media briefing today, after Toronto police raided the 70-year-old gunsmith and killed him.

  • Click the image above to watch the video replay of our live updates and commentary of the briefing.
  • The press conference was streamed on Twitter by Smitiuch Injury Law, the lawyers hired by Kotanko’s family.
  • The main speaker was Michael Smitiuch.

Highlights

  • Toronto police traveled almost 150 km southwest of Toronto to raid Kotanko’s home workshop in Port Dover, Ontario, at about 12 noon on 03 November.
  • They took their own ambulance.
  • They didn’t inform the Ontario Provincial Police until minutes before their raid.
  • They detained Kotanko’s wife seconds before they shot him dead.
  • An officer used his handgun to fire four bullets into Kotanko.
  • Kotanko was inside his workshop with an alleged customer, the police were outside.
  • The alleged customer booked their appointment the night before. “Where is this customer? Who is this customer? Was it a customer?” said Smitiuch.
  • The police took Kotanko’s phone.
  • The police are refusing to share a copy of their search warrant with Smitiuch.
  • Smitiuch has video of the moments before the attack, but not of the shooting itself. He doesn’t know if the police filmed it.
  • Suzanne Kantor, Kotanko’s sister, said the SIU expects their investigation to take four months.

Info Sources

From Smitiuch Injury Law (Toronto, Ontario):

From CHCH TV (Hamilton, Ontario):

Key Quote

  • Jeff Kotanko (Brother): “The cops shot a guy they didn’t need to. We want to know why.”

Why It Matters

  • Many shooters appreciated Kotanko and were his clients, from high-level competitors to the military and police.
  • Gun owners and firearm businesses want to support the family. We want to know what happened.
  • We know some (not all) politicians and police are hostile to us, and we’re wondering, “Could I be next?”

Three Big Questions Remain

  • Was the shooting justified?
  • What happened? What led police to raid and then to shoot Kotanko?
  • Why was Toronto police raiding a person 130 km from Toronto?

Kotanko’s Workshop

  • Photo By Charles Zach
  • The sign on the door says: “Warning: Due to price increase of ammo, do not expect a warning shot!”
Rodger Kotanko Family and Lawyer Brief Media on His Killing By Toronto Police
Rodger Kotanko’s Workshop on 18 Nov 2021. Photo: Charles Zach

Background

What We Knew Before Today

  • Kotanko worked as a gunsmith from his home workshop in Port Dover, Ontario, about 130 km southwest of Toronto.
  • The business name was Dark International Trading Company.
  • The family told TheGunBlog.ca that Kotanko’s clients included IPSC champions, the military, the police, and a past Ontario Chief Firearms Officer. He was one of the first IPSC members in Canada, with membership No. 013.
  • Toronto Police said on Twitter the day of the killing that officers were executing a “Firearms Search Warrant” around 12 noon on November 3, and an officer shot their gun.
  • The Ontario police Special Investigations Unit said in a statement that it’s investigating the death after an officer discharged his firearm “near” a residence.
  • Memorial Service (12 November 2021): Obituary of Rodger Wayne Kotanko, Video Livestream

Toronto Police Isn’t Elaborating

  • “This is an SIU investigation,” Laura Brabant, a spokeswoman for the Toronto police, told TheGunBlog.ca by e-mail on 17 November in response to our questions. “Please reach out to them for comment. We did post the below message to our social media accounts:”

GoFundMe Fundraiser

  • Update Nov. 19: Adds photo of Kotanko’s workshop.

TheGunBlog.ca offers our respects to the family and friends of Rodger Kotanko.

We are deeply thankful to our subscribers and supporters who make our work possible.

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