A high-speed trespasser at the Vatican was met with gunfire from the city-state’s security forces on Thursday evening.
A vehicle sped through one of the main Vatican entrances, reaching a palace courtyard, according to The Associated Press.
Vatican gendarmes — the city-state’s security personnel — shot at the vehicle’s wheels in a bid to stop the trespasser.
The driver was ultimately apprehended when he fled the car in the courtyard.
The trespasser has been described as a man in his 40s but has not been publicly identified.
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
There are no indications that anyone was injured during the disturbance.
The trespasser’s motives in breaching the grounds of the Vatican are unclear.
Vatican security had earlier denied the driver access to the city-state, as he lacked authorization, according to the Catholic News Agency.
Vatican officials later described the man as being in a “serious state of psychophysical alteration,” the AP reported.
“Currently the person is in a prison cell in the new premises of the Gendarmerie Barracks, at the disposal of the Judicial Authority.”
The driver was later taken to a hospital in Rome for mental health treatment, according to journalist Edward Pentin.
After questioning and ascertaining his condition, the #Vatican says the driver of the vehicle that “illegally entered the Vatican last night was taken to the psychiatric ward of Santo Spirito in Sassia Hospital for mandatory medical treatment” https://t.co/3iiZrzSi8S
— Edward Pentin (@EdwardPentin) May 19, 2023
The Vatican has a long-standing arrangement with Italian authorities in which those who commit crimes in the city-state can be punished under the Italian system, The Washington Post reported.
The Swiss Guards, the city-state’s de facto military known for their colorful uniforms, are armed with military-style firearms such as submachine guns and rifles, according to Aleteia.