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Gunfire Breaks Out at Vatican as Palace Courtyard Is Breached

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.


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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.


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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.

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