(UnitedVoice.com) – Pope Francis isn’t just the head of the Catholic Church; he’s also the head of state for Vatican City. The roles he serves make him a high-profile target, which is why the Vatican is heavily guarded. Those guards sprung into action when someone breached security recently.
On Thursday, May 18, a person tried to gain access to the Vatican, but the Pontifical Swiss Guard turned him away because he didn’t have the proper authority to enter. He allegedly said he wanted to speak to Pope Francis. Instead of leaving, he returned at a very high rate of speed and plowed through the gates at the Santa Anna entrance.
One of the guards on duty shot at the vehicle’s front tires. The bullet hit the front left fender, but the driver refused to stop. He ended his journey in the San Damaso Courtyard, where he voluntarily exited the car, and guards arrested him.
Breaking news from Vatican: A man in his 40’s drove a car at high speed towards the Vatican, smashing through St. Anna’s Gate and into Vatican City. Swiss guard shot at his front tires but he continued into the courtyard past Vatican Bank. He got out of his vehicle and was… pic.twitter.com/m8nhAAJ21k
— Colm Flynn (@colmflynnire) May 18, 2023
The Directorate of Health and Hygiene of the Vatican City State examined the man, who was only identified as a 40-year-old. The physicians determined he was in a “serious state of psychophysical alteration.”
The National Catholic Register reported that the Holy See Press Office released a statement noting that the man was originally incarcerated at the Gendarmerie Barracks. However, he had a meeting with an attorney and his lawyer. After the meeting, he was sent to a psychiatric hospital in Rome. He will reportedly be forced to undergo medical treatment for his mental health disorder.
According to reports, the gate was immediately shut to the Santa Martha Hotel, where the pope lives, when alarms started going off. It’s not clear where the pope was when the incident occurred. It happened just after 8 p.m., around dinner time.
It’s not clear what criminal charges, if any, the man is facing. The pope hasn’t commented on the incident.
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