Airport Executive Killed In ATF Shootout Allegedly Sold 150 Guns Without License

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg (Getty Images)
Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg (Getty Images)

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were involved in a firefight early Tuesday morning while executing a search warrant in Little Rock, Arkansas. Bryan Malinowski, the executive director of Clinton National Airport, opened fire as agents attempted to serve the warrant at his home. The agents returned fire and shot the 53-year-old in the head, leaving him brain-dead. He died at noon on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

The ATF claims that Malinowski ought over 150 guns between May 2021 and February 2024 and then resold those weapons without a license. KARK reports the warrant affidavit alleges that several resold firearms were linked to crimes and undercover federal agents bought guns from Malinowski. Law enforcement believes that the airport executive would legally purchase weapons, filling out paperwork that guns were for himself. Then, he would resell the guns within a day, either through private sales or at gun shows.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette noted that Malinowski’s base salary of $264,000 made him the highest-paid government official in Little Rock. Without an obvious financial incentive, it’s difficult to piece together a motive for Malinowski’s illegal weapon sales. The Malinowski family released a statement reading:


“Even if the allegations in the affidavit are true, they don’t begin to justify what happened. At worst, Bryan Malinowski, a gun owner and gun enthusiast, stood accused of making private firearm sales to a person who may not have been legally entitled to purchase the guns.”

An ATF agent was also shot during the exchange and was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

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