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Man Killed; Tossed Trash at Pope's Home : Man With Ax Slain; Hurled Trash at Papal Villa

July 24, 1986|United Press International

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy — A man who tossed a parcel of garbage at Pope John Paul II's summer residence and rushed police with an ax today was shot and killed after a car chase, police said.

Police said Roberto Porfili, 45, whom they identified as a former senior official of the Ministry of Cultural Property, stopped his small car outside the gate of the papal villa 12 miles south of Rome shortly after 4 a.m.

Porfili, police said, brandished an ax at police guarding the villa--where the Pope is spending the summer--and threw a package of garbage at the rear gate.

"This present is for you and the Pope!" he shouted.

Before the guards could stop him, Porfili sped off toward Rome. Two highway patrol cars picked up a radio alert and intercepted him four miles from the capital.

When Porfili refused to stop, police fired pistols and submachine guns at the car tires, shooting out a rear one and forcing Porfili to the side of the road.

Rushed Police

Porfili got out, rushed police with his ax and plunged it through the roof of a patrol car, police said.

Police opened fire, killing Porfili on the spot, the account said.

Pope John Paul moved from the Vatican to Castel Gandolfo for his regular summer rest period shortly after he returned July 8 from his trip to Colombia. He returns to the Vatican each Wednesday for his weekly general audience.

Police said an investigation showed that Porfili, separated from his wife and two teen-age children, had been undergoing psychiatric treatment for some time.

In his pockets police found a handwritten document in which Porfili said he opposed Sigmund Freud's theory that neurotic ailments could be treated by carrying on with the everyday things of life.

Porfili argued in the document that the best thing was to follow "the destiny and the example of the ancient Greeks and gods, who found it better to live by great deeds."

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