close
close

Prosecutor declines to file charges in ATF shooting of Little Rock airport director

An Arkansas prosecutor said Friday that an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives acted justifiably when he Director of Little Rock Airport during the raid on his home in March.

Pulaski County Attorney Will Jones said in a letter to the ATF that after reviewing the Arkansas State Police investigation into the shooting of Bryan Malinowski, the executive director of Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, no charges would be filed in the shooting.

Malinowski, 53, died days after he was shot on March 19 while ATF agents were executing a warrant at his Little Rock home. Someone inside the house fired at the agents, who returned fire, hitting the gunman. The shooter was later identified as Malinowski.

An affidavit released after the shooting said Malinowski purchased more than 150 guns between May 2021 and February 2024 and resold many of them without a dealer's license.

In his letter, Jones said the agents properly identified themselves with police running lights and sirens before entering the building and announced their presence at the front door. He wrote the ATF agents wore signs and shirts with “ATF Police” printed on the right side and bulletproof vests with “ATF Police” printed on the front. Jones wrote that during the raid, one of the agents saw another agent fall to the ground, heard a gunshot and saw Malinowski holding a gun.

“Given all of the circumstances, Agent 2 believed that deadly force was necessary to defend himself and Agent 1,” Jones wrote. “Therefore, Agent 2's use of deadly force was consistent with Arkansas law and justified.”

ATF spokeswoman Kristina Mastropasqua called the state's investigation into the shooting “expeditious, professional and independent” and said it is currently being reviewed internally by the agency.

The Malinowski family called the ATF's conduct of the raid “completely unnecessary” and complained that the ATF lacked details. A lawyer for the Malinowski family said he is a gun collector and was unaware he was being investigated for reselling firearms at gun shows.

Bud Cummins, the family's attorney, said Friday that questions about the raid are “far from over” despite Jones' decision. Cummins noted that, according to Jones' letter, ATF agents waited only 28 seconds after knocking on the Malinowskis' door before they began breaking it down.

“How long is it reasonable to wait for someone to open their front door at 6:00 a.m. when unexplained, loud bangs are heard in a 3,000-square-foot, fully insulated home? Let's pray the answer is not 28 seconds. The Fourth Amendment means more than that to each and every one of us,” Cummins said in a statement.

His death sparked criticism from some Republican lawmakers in Arkansas who demanded more information from the ATF, and the chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee asked the ATF in April to provide the panel with documents and information about the raid.