INTRODUCTION: Pope John Paul underwent four and a half hours of emergency surgery on Wednesday night (13 May) after being shot three times by a gunman in Saint Peter's Square.
GV & SV Pope surrounded by crowds in vehicle and waving (3 shots)
SV Pope picks up child
GV & SV PAN Security men and vehicles driving away after shooting (2 shots)
SV Weeping onlookers (3 shots)
GV Injured spectator carried away
SV Woman led away with handkerchief over mouth past weeping crowds (2 shots)
GV PAN FROM Police TO policemen circling cartridges on ground
SILENT SV Police vehicle taking suspect away
SILENT B & W Mehemed Ali Acca photograph
SILENT B & W PAN FROM Newsmen TO Acca speaking at Turkish trial (2 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Pope John Paul underwent four and a half hours of emergency surgery on Wednesday night (13 May) after being shot three times by a gunman in Saint Peter's Square. A spokesman for the Rome hospital said the operation was satisfactory, and that the Pope was not in danger. A 30-year-old Turk described as an American terrorist was being held by police.
SYNOPSIS: The Pope was driving in his special Jeep during his Wednesday general audience just before the shooting took place.
He had only just begun to greet the thousands of faithful waiting outside St. Peter's Basilica, including a young child, when three shots were fired at him from close range. It was the first time for ten years that an attempt had been made on the life of a Pope.
The Pontiff fell to the floor of the vehicle, with blood staining his white robes, and he was driven away at high speed. He was seriously injured, but no vital organs were hit.
In St. Peter's Square, onlookers were stunned with grief when they realised what had happened. The crowd leaped on a dark-haired man who was arrested by police.
An American woman who was standing close to the Pope was also badly hurt. She was identified as Mrs. Ann Odre, who was on a two-week tour to Rome sponsored by the Buffalo, New York, diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. Her group, led by the Rector of St. Joseph's Cathedral in Buffalo, had been promised an opportunity of an audience with the Pope. Police said the gunman was carrying a nine millimetre calibre revolver when he was arrested. He was clean-shaven, and wearing a grey jacket and white shirt.
After he'd been driven away and questioned, police said the suspect threatened to shoot the Pope on an earlier occasion.
He was identified as Mehemed Ali Acca, who had escaped from a Maximum security prison where he was being held on charges of killing a Turkish newspaper editor. He allegedly said he would kill the Pope on his 1979 visit to Turkey.