Rodger Kotanko Family and Lawyer Brief Media on His Killing By Toronto Police
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.
- 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.
From Smitiuch Injury Law (Toronto, Ontario):
- Today (Video): Media briefing livestream by @SmitiuchLaw on Twitter.
- Today (Press Release): Why Did Toronto Police Shoot and Kill Rodger Kotanko?
- Yesterday: Media Advisory – Kotanko Family Speaks Out
From CHCH TV (Hamilton, Ontario):
- Today (Video): Media briefing livestream
- 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?
- Photo By Charles Zach
- The sign on the door says: “Warning: Due to price increase of ammo, do not expect a warning shot!”
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:”
- Update Nov. 19: Adds photo of Kotanko’s workshop.
TheGunBlog.ca offers our respects to the family and friends of Rodger Kotanko.