On 10 May 2005, Vladimir Arutyunian waited for United States President George W. Bush and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to speak. When Bush began speaking, he threw a Soviet-made RGD-5 hand grenade, wrapped in a red plaid handkerchief, toward the podium where Bush stood as he addressed the crowd. The grenade landed 18.6 metres (61 ft) from the podium, near where Saakashvili, his wife Sandra E. Roelofs, Laura Bush, and other officials were seated.
The grenade failed to detonate. Although original reports indicated that the grenade was not live, it was later revealed that it was. After Arutyunian pulled the pin and threw the grenade, it hit a girl, cushioning its impact. The red handkerchief remained wrapped around the grenade, and it prevented the striker lever from releasing. A Georgian security officer quickly removed the grenade, and Arutyunian disappeared.
Arutyunian later explained that he threw the grenade “towards the heads” so that “the shrapnel would fly behind the bulletproof glass”. Bush and Saakashvili did not learn of the incident until after the rally.
- Department of State records [7 Pages, 1.5MB]
- European Command (EUCOM) records [5 Pages, 0.3MB]
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) records – Release #1 [102 Pages, 3.90MB]
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) records – Release #2 [17 Pages, 7.7MB] – These records were released after processing a request for FIVE years which began at the United States Secret Service, then was transferred to the FBI. These records were released on October 2, 2017.