The Turkish gunman who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981 left prison a free man Thursday after serving more than 25 years behind bars in Italy and Turkey for the plot against the pontiff and the slaying of a Turkish journalist.
To the cheers of nationalist supporters, a white sedan whisked Mehmet Ali Agca, whose attempt to assassinate the pope gained notoriety for himself and shame for his homeland, through the gates of the high-security Kartal Prison as dozens of police officers stood guard.
Agca, 48, wearing a bright blue sweater and jeans, was freed five years after he was pardoned by Italy and extradited to Turkey. He had served 20 years in prison in Italy.
"We are happy. We endlessly thank the Turkish state," said his brother, Adnan Agca.