Arkansas Airport Executive Dies After Shootout With A.T.F.

The executive director of Arkansas’s largest airport died on Thursday after being wounded in a shootout this week with federal agents who were executing a search warrant at his home, the authorities said.

According to the authorities, Bryan Malinowski, 53, the director of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, shot at agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who then returned fire as they tried to carry out the search warrant on Tuesday.

One A.T.F. agent suffered a gunshot wound that was not life-threatening, the authorities said.

In a 51-page affidavit that was unsealed on Thursday, officials offered insight into what had led to the early-morning search warrant in suburban Little Rock, which Mr. Malinowski’s family has criticized as unnecessary and dangerous.

The authorities accused Mr. Malinowski of having purchased more than 100 guns in recent years and of illegally selling many of them, including at least three that were later found to be connected with a crime. Mr. Malinowski first bought the guns legally, checking a box on purchase forms stating that the guns were for himself, before selling them privately to individuals, the affidavit states.

He would go to gun shows, the affidavit said, including two in Arkansas and one in Tennessee, and sell guns to people “without asking for any identification or paperwork.”

Photographs included in the redacted affidavit show Mr. Malinowski at a gun show, standing behind a booth filled with firearms. The affidavit also states that Mr. Malinowski had sold guns to two undercover agents who were investigating him.

Mr. Malinowski’s family said in a statement issued by their lawyer that they did not understand the government’s decisions that had “led to a dawn raid on a private home and triggered the use of deadly force.”

The family added that while they were “obviously concerned about the allegations in the affidavit,” they still believed that the accusations did not “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,” the family said.

The A.T.F. did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment Thursday night.

The Arkansas State Police said in a statement that the results of an investigation would be presented to a prosecuting attorney, who would “determine whether the use of deadly force was consistent with Arkansas law.”

Mr. Malinowski began working at the Clinton National Airport in 2008 and became executive director in 2019, according to his biography on the airport’s website. He previously held leadership roles at other airports, including in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; El Paso; and Lehigh County, Pa.

The Clinton National Airport said in a statement on Thursday that under Mr. Malinowski’s leadership, “our airport has experienced significant growth and success, expanding services and offerings to our community and state.”

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