TBILISI, Georgia – Georgian police on Wednesday detained a man suspected of throwing a live grenade during a rally at which President Bush spoke in May, the Interior Ministry said. The capture came after a shootout in which one officer was killed and another wounded.
The shootout and detention occurred Wednesday evening in the village of Vashlisdzhvari (search), outside the capital, Tbilisi, ministry spokesman Guram Donadze told The Associated Press. The suspect fled into the woods but was later detained, Donadze said.
Rustavi-2 television showed pictures of a dark-haired man it described as the suspect being hustled into a car by police officers. It said he was wounded and identified him as Vladimir Arutyunov (search), in his late 20s.
The man lived in an eight-story apartment building with his mother, Rustavi-2 reported, citing neighbors as saying Arutyunov was unemployed. The report could not immediately be confirmed.
The U.S. Secret Service (search) is monitoring the investigation by Georgian authorities but "was not directly involved and not present" at the arrest, said agency spokesman Eric Zahren. The White House also is keeping a close eye on the situation, said press secretary Scott McClellan.
The police operation came two days after authorities released a photograph of a man suspected of throwing the grenade, which failed to explode, at a podium where Bush was speaking May 10 before tens of thousands of people.
President Mikhail Saakashvili also was on the podium when Bush spoke, raising the prospect that the grenade could have been directed at him.
Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili also had announced a reward of about $80,000 for information leading to the identification of the man, who was shown with dark hair and dark glasses.
Saakashvili, who came to power after the 2003 Rose Revolution that ousted Eduard Shevardnadze, has provoked enmity with his anti-corruption initiatives and insistence on restoring control over two separatist regions.
Bush spoke from behind bulletproof glass, addressing a huge crowd in a main Tbilisi square as part of a visit aimed at cementing relations between the United States and Georgia's new pro-Western leadership.
The grenade landed less than 100 feet from the podium but did not explode. A preliminary investigation indicated the grenade malfunctioned, the FBI said.