Car Rushes Vatican Gate, Is Fired On by Armed Guards

Driver was apprehended quickly after Thursday night incident
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 19, 2023 1:28 AM CDT
Gendarmes Fire On Car Rushing Vatican Gate
A Swiss Guard officer and a Vatican gendarme patrol the Santa Anna gate at the Vatican, late Thursday, May 18, 2023.   (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

A car driven by someone with apparent psychiatric problems rushed through a Vatican gate Thursday evening and sped past Swiss Guards into a palace courtyard before the driver was apprehended by police, the Holy See said. Vatican gendarmes fired a shot at the speeding car’s front tires after it rushed the gate, but the vehicle managed to continue on its way, the Vatican press office said in a statement late Thursday cited by the AP. Once the car reached the San Damaso Courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, the driver got out and was immediately arrested by Vatican gendarmes. The Vatican said the driver was about 40 years old and was in a “serious state of psychophysical alteration." He was being held in the Vatican barracks.

It wasn't clear if Pope Francis was anywhere near the incident, which occurred after 8pm at the Santa Anna gate, one of the main entrances to the Vatican City State in the heart of Rome. Francis lives on the other side of Vatican City at the Santa Marta hotel, where at that hour he would normally be having dinner and retiring to his room. The Vatican statement said that as soon as the gendarmes sounded the alarm of an incursion, the main gate blocking access to the piazza in front of Francis' hotel was shut. The incident was a rare incursion into the city state, much of which is off limits to the general public, especially at night.

(More Vatican stories.)

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