News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Toronto Police Shooting Death of Rodger Kotanko in Norfolk County

Case Number: 21-TFD-373   

Mississauga, ON (3 March, 2022) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has found no reasonable grounds to believe that a Toronto Police Service officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the death of Rodger Kotanko, 70, in Simcoe last November.

On November 3, 2021, officers went to Mr. Kotanko’s residence on Port Ryerse Road to execute a warrant as part of a firearms-trafficking investigation. Two officers went to Mr. Kotanko’s workshop, where the door was open, and identified themselves as police. Inside was Mr. Kotanko and a customer. The officers told them to raise their hands. The customer complied, but Mr. Kotanko did not, despite multiple commands. Within seconds of their entry, Mr. Kotanko reached with his right hand towards the workbench, retrieved a firearm, and pointed it at the officers as they yelled at him to drop the gun. He did not. The subject official shot Mr. Kotanko four times. 

Officers rendered care to Mr. Kotanko until paramedics arrived.  He was transported to hospital where he died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Director Martino concluded that the officer fired his weapon to protect himself -- and possibly the other officer -- from a reasonably apprehended assault. For reasons unknown, Mr. Kotanko ignored the officers’ direction to raise his hands, picked up a firearm, refused to drop it and pointed the gun at the officers.  In the result, there were no reasonable grounds to believe that the force used by the subject official was not legally justified. 

Full Director’s Report (with Incident Narrative, Evidence, and Analysis & Director’s Decision): 

The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials (police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service) that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid
  • publicly report the results of its investigations

Lisez ce communiqué en français.

Kristy Denette,
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES