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Arkansas airport executive director dies after Little Rock home shootout

The executive director of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas, died after a shootout at his home, officials said Thursday.

The shootout took place early Tuesday as federal agents tried to serve a search warrant at the home of the airport's director, Bryan Malinowski, authorities said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said agents were trying to serve the warrant just after 6 a.m. in west Little Rock when someone inside the home fired gunshots at the agents. The agents returned fire, striking the shooter, who was identified as Malinowski, 53.

Malinowski was treated at the scene before being taken to an area hospital, Arkansas State Police said. 

The chair of the Little Rock Municipal Airpot Commission confirmed Malinowski's death in a news release on Thursday.

"With a heavy heart, we announce the passing of our executive director Bryan Malinowski," the statement read. "Bryan was a 16-year employee of the airport. Under his leadership, our airport has experienced significant growth and success, expanding services and offerings to our community and state. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Bryan's wife, Maer, loved ones and friends."

An ATF agent, whose identity was not released, was also shot in the exchange of gunfire but suffered a non-life-threatening wound, officials said. The agent, too, was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

Neither the ATF, state police nor federal prosecutors would provide details of what agents were looking for, citing an ongoing investigation.

Around 2:35 p.m., Little Rock firefighters carrying a power saw and a Halligan tool —a large pry bar— were seen walking toward the house. An ATF agent was overheard saying they were at the scene to help agents open a safe in Malinowski's house, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

According to his biography on the airport's website, Malinowski had worked in the airline industry for more than 30 years, serving in operational leadership roles at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, El Paso International Airport in Texas and Lehigh Valley International Airport in Pennsylvania.

Malinowski joined the management team at the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in 2008 as director of properties, planning and development before being promoted to deputy director of the airport a year later. He took over as executive director in 2019.

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