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

18 November 2021

3 min read — 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.

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


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

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