May 13, 1981
Escaped Turkish terrorist Mehmet Ali Ağca shoots Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square at Vatican City. The Pope was struck four times. Ağca was apprehended and later sentenced to life in prison. But the Pope forgave Ağca and he was pardoned by Italian president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi at the Pope’s request and then deported to Turkey in 2000, where he was imprisoned for a previous murder. Ağca made conflicting claims about who hired him for the assassination attempt. One of the claims he was the Russian government hired him because of the Pope’s involvement in Polish solidarity. Others that he also claimed had hired him included Cardinal Agostino Casaroli and the Ayatollah Khomeini.