Mehmet Ali Ağca attempted to kill Pope John Paul II on this day in 1981 in St. Peter's Square.
Who was Mehmet Ali Ağca?
Mehmet Ali Ağca was a Turkish national who was a member of the extremist right-wing organization known as the Grey Wolves.
Why did Mehmet Ali Ağca try to kill Pope John Paul II?
Mehmet Ali Ağca's motive for attempting to assassinate the Pope remains unclear. However, he later claimed that he was acting on orders from God and once hinted that he was following orders of communist agents of the Soviet KGB and Bulgarian secret service.
Was Pope John Paul II injured in the assassination attempt?
Pope John Paul II was shot four times by Mehmet Ali Ağca but survived the attack. He underwent surgery and spent several weeks in the hospital before making a full recovery.
What happened to Mehmet Ali Ağca after the assassination attempt?
Mehmet Ali Ağca was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment in Italy for the attempted assassination of the Pope. He served 19 years in prison before being pardoned by the Italian government in 2000 at the request of the Vatican. Ağca was later extradited to Turkey, where he served additional time in prison for the murder of a journalist. He was released from prison in 2010. Famously, John Paul met with and forgave Ağca two years after the shooting.