13 May 1981 Pope John Paul II shot

The Pope was shot four times as he blessed the crowds in St Peter’s Square in Rome, which resulted in a five hour operation to save his lfe.

The Pope was being driven in his Popemobile through a crowd of about 20,000 worshippers when he was hit by four bullets fired from a 9mm pistol some 15 feet away. Two struck him in the stomach, one in his right arm and the fourth hit his little finger.

Police arrested a 23-year-old man who said he was a Turkish citizen and gave his name as Mehmet Ali Hagca. He kept repeating: “I couldn’t care less about life.”

The Turkish press has reported Hagca was jailed for the killing of Turkish newspaper editor Abdi Ipecki in February 1979. But he escaped from prison and left behind a letter vowing to kill the pontiff just before the Pope visited Turkey in 1979.

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