Is this what an assassination looks like? If this assailant’s gun had fired, yes.
- Last Updated: 7:46 AM, January 20, 2013
- Posted: 11:22 PM, January 19, 2013
In a bizarre and brazen attack caught on TV yesterday, a Bulgarian political leader in the middle of a speech found himself suddenly staring into the barrel of a gun inches from his face.
Ahmed Dogan, 58, reacted with lightning speed, surprising his much taller and younger would-be assassin by swatting at the gun, which appeared to jam as the attacker pulled the trigger.
Nearly 3,000 people were at the political conference in the capital city of Sofia when the attacker leaped onto the stage next to Dogan, head of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms Party, which represents ethnic Turks in Bulgaria.
Dogan then batted at the weapon and tried to push past his attacker and run, but fell in the process.
The gunman was quickly swarmed by other political delegates, who threw him to the ground and kicked and punched him.
Police eventually arrested the bloodied young man and took him to a hospital. The weapon turned out to be a gas pistol, which fires tear-gas cartridges.
Though usually considered a non-lethal weapon, gas pistols can be deadly at close range, experts say.
No one knows how the attacker, an ethnic Turk identified as Oktai Enimehmedov, 25, got past security with the pistol and two knives.
The burly Enimehmedov was wearing an ID badge around his neck.
Dogan has led the liberal MRF since its inception in 1990. His successor was to be chosen at the conference.
Ethnic Turks and Muslims make up about 12 percent of the population of Bulgaria, home to 7.3 million people, and have long suffered discrimination.
Enimehmedov, dressed all in black, has a criminal record for drug possession, robberies and “hooliganism,” according to Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov.
No one knows why he attacked Dogan, who hours later returned to the conference unharmed, earning a standing ovation.