The following is extracted from the article “A Patron for Shooters” by Carlo Stagnaro, ARMI Magazine, Milan, Italy, June 2003. For the whole article please visit the St. Gabriel Possenti Society.
After a battle that year in Pesaro, Italy, in which Giuseppe Garibaldi’s Piedmontese army defeated Blessed Pope Pius IX’s army, several contingents of the former left the main body of the troops, and proceeded to terrorize the countryside. About 20 of them entered Isola del Gran Sasso, where Gabriel Possenti served as a seminarian. When the noise from the ruckus caused by the gang reached the monastery, Possenti asked the monastery rector if he could go into the town to see if he could help the people. The rector said yes.
Possenti found the gang about to rape a young woman, and ordered them to set her free. When they refused to obey, Possenti yanked two pistols out of the soldiers’ holsters. (According to Mr. Paolo Tagini, who edits the Italian firearms magazine, Armi Magazine, the weapons likely were 1851 Colt Navy Model six-shot revolvers in .36 caliber or imitations thereof.) At that moment, a lizard ran across the road. Gabriel Possenti took aim, fired and killed it with one shot. Then, he turned his weapons toward the gang which, surprised and shocked, left the village.