Nathan Kotylak, Water Polo Athlete, Issues Apology For Role In Vancouver Riot [VIDEO]


First Posted: 06/19/11 11:17 AM ET Updated: 08/19/11 06:12 AM ET

CBC -- An up-and-coming water polo athlete is reported to be among several people who have turned themselves in to police after being photographed during the Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver.

Nathan Kotylak, 17, was caught on camera holding a rag and a lighter near the gas tank of a police car during events that unfolded Wednesday night after the Vancouver Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins. Pictures later show the cruiser on fire, as a cheering crowd looks on at a parking lot at Cambie and Georgia streets.

Media reports say the Maple Ridge, B.C., teen apologized for his actions after speakng to police on Saturday. He told Global B.C. what he did was "dumb" and that he "caught up in the moment."

Global said his family got a court order allowing him to go public with his apology Saturday evening. The teen told the media outlet he wants to own up to what he did and encourage others to do the same, adding, "I’m just ashamed."

His father said the photo was misleading and his son didn't light the car on fire. Kotylak attends a private school and plays water polo on Canada's junior national team.

The teen had received a partial scholarship to attend the University of Calgary to study kinesiology, and hoped one day to compete in the Olympics, according to his father.

Water Polo Canada announced on Friday that it had suspended a high-level polo player over allegations he was involved in the riot.

Ahmed El-Awadi, executive director of Water Polo Canada, said in a news release that the player, who was not named, has contacted the organization through a lawyer to indicate he will co-operate fully with any disciplinary process.

Vancouver police say they have over a million photos and 1,000 hours of evidence to sift through. And although some of the rioters have come forward to police, Crown Counsel says no charges have been laid.

Crown Counsel spokesman Neil MacKenzie said it's still in the early days in the investigation.

"Obviously the files are being given priority by Crown and police but it does take some time to complete the investigation and prepare reports and certainly it appears the police are dealing with a substancial amount of evidence and amount of information that they are going to have to assess and determine whether it supports charges," he said Saturday.

Mackenzie said the Crown will be meeting with police on Monday as a part of the preliminary process of planning how to deal with the files as they come in.

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Filed by Christian Cotroneo  |  Report Corrections