A Bulgarian politician was nearly assassinated on live television while giving a speech on Saturday afternoon as an assailant broke into a political-party conference and held a gun to his head.
Ahmed Dogan, 58, leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, was delivering a speech in Sofia when a man later identified as Oktai Enimehmedov, 25, rushed the stage and held the leader at gunpoint. For a moment, the gunman hesitated, and Dogan attempted to knock his hand away. Then, Dogan and his assailant fell to the ground before security and other party members apprehended the assailant, according to the Sofia Globe.
A local TV station captured the entire event, from Dogan’s speech to the attempted assassin’s arrest. Footage of the incident shows that not only was the assailant apprehended soon after pointing a gun at Dogan, but, once he was on the ground, several party members repeatedly kicked him in the face and torso.
"Ahmed Dogan is in good health. Everything is under control," party official Ceyhan Ibryamov told Reuters after the harrowing incident.
Gawker contended that footage of the event showed Enimehmedov not only pointed the gun at Dogan’s head, but also pulled the trigger twice. If this were the case, it would appear Enimehmedov’s gun jammed during the assassination attempt.
Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry said in a statement that Enimehmedov is from the city of Bourgas and has two previous criminal convictions. The would-be assassin was convicted for causing bodily harm in 2006 and drug possession in 2010. Enimehmedov is a Bulgarian national who is ethnically Turkish.
In addition to the gun, authorities later found two knives on Enimehmedov’s person.
Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told reporters an investigation is under way.
Dogan's party is a strongly liberal organization in Bulgaria and attempts to represent ethnic Turks and other Muslims who, together, make up roughly 12 percent of Bulgaria’s population.
Watch a video of the failed assassination attempt below, as captured by a local TV station.