Police seize Bush grenade suspect
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Police seize Bush grenade suspect

BBC News | July 21, 2005

A $80,000 reward was offered for information about the suspect
Police in Georgia have arrested a man suspected of throwing a grenade towards US President George Bush during a visit to the former Soviet republic in May.

Police at first raided a property in a suburb of the capital, Tbilisi, but the man escaped after a shootout in which one policeman was killed, police say.

The suspect was seized when police searched a nearby wood.

The grenade was thrown into a crowd as Mr Bush gave a speech in Tbilisi, but it did not explode.

It was found 30m (100ft) from the stage when Mr Bush and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili had stood. Both men spoke from behind bullet-proof glass.

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Georgian officials say that Vova Arutyunov, 27, opened fire on the police when they came to his house to question him.

Mr Arutyunov shot dead one of the policemen before escaping from his flat in the Tbilisi suburb of Vashlisdzhvari.

Georgia force arrest suspect
The suspect was arrested after escaping an initial shoot-out

He fled to a nearby wood, firing shots as the police encircled him until he was finally captured two hours later and taken in for questioning. Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili told reporters that he was wounded.

On Monday, Georgian police issued a picture of the man they wanted and announced a 150,000 lari ($80,000, £45,000) reward for information leading to his capture.

The man in the photograph had dark hair and wore dark glasses.

Mr Merabishvili said at the time that officials did not know who the man was, but that he was believed to between 25 and 35 years old, and 175-180cm tall (5ft 9in).

Mr Bush was visiting Georgia to bolster relations and express support for democracy in the country following its Rose Revolution in 2003.

 

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