Airport Chief Shot During ATF Gunfight Dies

It's still not clear what agents were looking for
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2024 11:20 AM CDT
Updated Mar 22, 2024 1:30 AM CDT
Airport Chief Hurt in Shootout With ATF Agents
In this July 2, 2007, file photo, vehicles enter the then-named Little Rock National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas.   (AP Photo/Mike Wintroath, File)
UPDATE Mar 22, 2024 1:30 AM CDT

The Arkansas airport director shot by federal agents who were serving a search warrant on his home early Tuesday has died, the airport announced Thursday. Bryan Malinowski, 53, "was a 16-year employee of the airport," the chair of the Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission said in a statement cited by the AP. Neither state nor federal authorities have revealed what they were looking for, citing the ongoing investigation. Malinowski's brother told NBC News on Wednesday that his brother collected guns and other weapons, and that he had no idea what agents could have wanted with him. "The ATF went after him in the worst possible way," he said, per the AP, claiming his brother had no choice but to "defend himself" after they "broke down his door" at 6am. "There's no reason why they couldn't have arrested him at work at the airport."

Mar 20, 2024 11:20 AM CDT

Feds converged upon a residence in Little Rock, Arkansas, this week, and the resulting shootout left one of the home's occupants injured, as well as an agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The man who allegedly fired upon authorities, per the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: 53-year-old Bryan Malinowski, the executive director of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, also known as Adams Field. The ATF says that its agents arrived at the private residence in the western part of the city at around 6am local time on Tuesday to serve a search warrant, reports the AP.

Local media report that someone inside the home then started shooting at the ATF agents, who returned fire. Malinowski was hit during the gunfight and treated at the scene, then taken to a nearby hospital; his condition remains unclear. An ATF agent was also hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Neighbors tell KARK that the quiet of their early morning routine was shattered by the gunfire on their street. "I heard about five or six, like, loud bangs," Shea De Bruyn says. "My heart was racing and the dogs were barking." De Bruyn adds that she and the other neighbors were "confused" by what went down.

story continues below

Some of them say they saw agents hauling firearms and ammunition out of the house and into a trailer after the shootout. It's not clear what the search warrant was for. Per his profile on the airport's website, Malinowski is a 30-year veteran in the airport leadership industry who arrived at Clinton National in 2008 at a lower director level. He ascended to the airport's executive director role in late 2019. The Arkansas State Police's Criminal Investigation Division is looking further into the shooting, including whether the use of deadly force was warranted, reports NBC News. (More Little Rock, Arkansas stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.