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Prosecutor declines filing charges in ATF shooting of Little Rock airport director

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An Arkansas prosecutor on Friday said a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent was justified when he fatally shot the Little Rock airport director during a raid at his house in March.

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

Malinowski, 53, died days after he was shot when ATF agents were executing a warrant March 19 at his home in Little Rock. Someone inside the house fired gunshots at the agents and they returned fire, striking the shooter. Later the shooter was identified as Malinowski. 

An affidavit released after the shooting said Malinowski bought over 150 guns between May 2021 and February 2024 and that he resold many without a dealer's license.

In his letter, Jones said the agents had properly identified themselves with police running lights and sirens outdoors before they entered and announced their presence at the front door. He wrote the ATF agents had shields and wore shirts that had 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 the totality of the circumstances, Agent 2 had a reasonable belief that deadly force was necessary to defend himself and Agent 1," Jones wrote. "Therefore, the use of deadly force by Agent 2 was in accordance with Arkansas law and was justified."

ATF spokesperson Kristina Mastropasqua called the state's investigation into the shooting "prompt, professional and independent" and said it's now under internal review by the agency.

The Malinowski family has called the ATF's tactics in the raid "completely unnecessary" and has complained about a lack of details from the ATF. An attorney for Malinowski's family has said he was a gun collector and wasn't aware he was under investigation for his reselling firearms at gun shows.

Bud Cummins, the family's attorney, on Friday said questions about the raid were "far from over" despite Jones' decision. Cummins noted that, according to Jones' letter, ATF agents only waited 28 seconds after knocking on the Malinowski's door before they began to ram it.

"How long is it reasonable to wait for someone to answer their front door at 6:00 am in response to unexplained loud pounding in a 3000 square foot fully insulated home? Let's pray the answer isn't 28 seconds. The Fourth Amendment means more than that to every single one of us," Cummins said in a statement. 

His death prompted criticism from some Republican lawmakers in Arkansas who have called for more information from the ATF, and the chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in April asked the ATF to provide the panel documents and information about the raid.

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