May 20, 2024
  • by:
  • Source: FreePressers
  • 04/17/2024
FPI / April 14, 2024

Last month Bryan Malinowski, the director of Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas, died after being shot by ATF agents. He was 53.

In a heavily redacted warrant affidavit, the ATF said Malinowski bought over 150 guns between May 2021 and February 2024 that he resold without a dealer’s license.

The ATF claims its agents were trying to serve a warrant just after 6 a.m. on March 19 at Malinowski’s home in west Little Rock when someone inside fired gunshots at the agents. The ATF said the agents returned fire, striking the shooter, who was identified as Malinowski. An unidentified ATF agent was also shot but the wound was not life-threatening, officials said.

But is that really how it went down?

Malinowski’s family recently released a statement which states it is extremely unlikely that the airport executive knew he was trading gunfire with federal agents. It is far more likely Malinowski believed he was defending himself and his wife from armed home invaders.

“Bryan Malinowski was asleep but rose to the sound of the door crashing and located a firearm. His wife believed the noise must have been intruders and she fully believes her husband thought the same. He loaded a magazine into a pistol and emerged from the master bedroom into a hallway leading indirectly to the front entryway. He reached a corner in the hall and looked around it to see several unidentifiable figures already several steps inside his home,” Malinowski’s family said in the statement. “We do not know who shot first but it appears that Bryan shot approximately three times at a decidedly low angle, probably at the feet of the intruders who were roughly 30 feet away.”

Ammoland reported on April 11 that ATF agents shot Malinowski in the head with a carbine at least once. He died from his wounds two days later.

The Malinowski family described ATF’s tactics as “reckless and incompetent, and completely unnecessary.”

In their statement, the family points out that ATF had Malinowski under surveillance for days. They had installed a GPS tracker on his vehicle, and undercover ATF agents had made several controlled buys from him at gun shows.

More importantly, Ammoland noted, “they knew where he worked and where he lived. They didn’t need to raid his home at zero dark thirty.”

Honor their memory: The ‘shot heard round the world’

The family’s statement said: “At this stage there is no publicly available evidence showing whether agents knocked on the door or announced their presence, adequately identifying themselves. Bryan’s wife Maer only heard loud banging immediately followed by the crash of the front door being forced open.”

The lawyer for the family said the agency could have settled the entire ordeal with a letter or phone call rather than a pre-dawn raid on his home.

Ammoland added that the ATF had enough information on Malinowski to take a less-lethal arrest option:

“They could have arrested him at the Clinton National Airport, where he served as executive director. They could have pulled him over on his way home and arrested him in his vehicle. They could have called Malinowski’s attorney and told him to turn in his client.

“If agents were dead set on confronting Malinowski at his home, a callout would have been much safer for all involved. Once the home was surrounded, agents could have contacted Malinowski on his cellphone – they knew the number since they had a warrant to search his phone – and ordered him to come out with his hands up. If he didn’t answer his phone, a bullhorn would have sufficed.

“A video from a neighbor’s doorbell camera shows that agents arrived at Malinowski’s home in 10 separate vehicles. If they would have activated the emergency lights in all of these squad cars, Malinowski’s entire neighborhood would have been bathed in red flashing lights. Malinowski would have known immediately there were law enforcement officers stacked outside his home and not criminal home invaders.

“Finally, agents could have simply slowed down and waited for Malinowski to answer the door, rather than breaching and storming in, which caused the armed confrontation.”

The family said in their statement: “Absent exigent circumstances (danger of losing evidence-drugs down the toilet; propensity for violence or escape) case law requires law enforcement officers to give dwelling occupants a reasonable time to come to the door and let them in.”

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