Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius’ love of guns described by firearms expert at trial

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Oscar Pistorius “had a great love and enthusiasm” for firearms, a South African guns expert who used to go shooting with Pistorius testified at the double amputee Olympian’s murder trial Monday.

Sean Rens, a manager of a firearms training academy, said he and Pistorius went shooting together 10 or 12 times since 2012.

Rens was asked by prosecutor Gerrie Nel if there was any discussion about Pistorius’ interest in firearms.

“There were many,” Rens said. “He had a great love and enthusiasm for them.”

Rens later detailed a story similar to one tweeted about on Pistorius’ account on Nov. 27, 2012.

The tweet has been deleted, but here it is:

source:

“I only have a half recollection of one story that he told me, which turned out to be a tumble dryer making a noise,” Rens said. “He went into what we call ‘code red’ or ‘combat mode.’ In other words draw his gun and go and clear the house as anyone would if they heard a noise inside their house. When he came to the source of the noise, it was the laundry or something in the laundry.”

Rens also described Pistorius’ answers to an exam asking if it’s justified to use a firearm in various scenarios.

Pistorius answered every question correctly, saying he was only allowed to discharge his firearm if intruders came at him with a gun and a knife and he feared for his life, Rens said.

Pistorius fatally shot and killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on the early morning of Valentine’s Day 2013. He shot four times through a bathroom door, hitting Steenkamp inside.

The prosecution asserts Pistorius shot through the door after an argument with Steenkamp. Pistorius has said he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.

Pistorius, the first double amputee to run in the Olympics in 2012, could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder.

Also Monday, Rens testified about a Pistorius application for licenses for six guns, reportedly made less than a month before he fatally shot Steenkamp. Pistorius already legally owned the 9 mm Parabellum pistol he used to shoot Steenkamp outside of the six other guns.

The application was not processed, and the transaction was canceled about a month after the shooting, Rens said. Here’s a copy of the order to purchase the guns:

Later, a crime scene photographer went through a slideshow from Pistorius’ home after the shooting.

The trial is expected to resume at 3:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

Here’s NBC News’ coverage of the Pistorius trial.

Pistorius is dropped by his blades manufacturer

USA Gymnastics settles sex abuse lawsuit

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — USA Gymnastics has reached a confidential settlement in a Georgia lawsuit that spurred a newspaper investigation into the organization’s practices for reporting child abuse.

A former gymnast filed the lawsuit against USA Gymnastics in 2013, alleging that the organization that trains Olympians received at least four warnings about coach William McCabe, who videotaped her in various states of undress.

The lawsuit revealed that USA Gymnastics wouldn’t forward child sex abuse allegations to authorities unless they were in writing and signed by a victim or a victim’s parent.

A judge in Effingham County, Georgia, dismissed the lawsuit on April 12, according to court records. USA Gymnastics admits no wrongdoing or liability in the settlement, said W. Brian Cornwell of Cornwell & Stevens LLP, the gymnast’s lawyer.

Both parties have declined to comment on the settlement.

“We want to make it clear that the settlement does not prevent the former gymnast from speaking publicly about her experiences,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement Thursday.

McCabe pleaded guilty in Georgia in 2006 to federal charges of sexual exploitation of children and making false statements. He’s serving a 30-year prison sentence.

The suit sparked The Indianapolis Star’s investigation of USA Gymnastics, which exposed abuse by Larry Nassar, a former Michigan State University sports doctor, and spurred the resignations of the organization’s president and board.

Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty to molesting patients and possessing child pornography. He was sentenced this year to prison terms that will keep him locked up for life after roughly 200 women gave statements against him in two courtrooms over 10 days.

USA Gymnastics faces additional lawsuits from women who say Nassar sexually abused them. The suits allege the organization was negligent, fraudulent and intentionally inflicted emotional distress by failing to warn or protect athletes from Nassar’s abuse. The organization has denied the allegations and wants the lawsuits dismissed.

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MORE: Full transcript of McKayla Maroney’s first comments since Larry Nassar case

Max Aaron retires from figure skating

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Max Aaron, a national champion and Skate America winner, has retired from competitive figure skating.

Aaron, 26, ends his career as the only Skate America men’s winner not to compete in an Olympics. He is one of three U.S. men’s champions in the last 55 years not to compete in an Olympics, along with Ryan Bradley and Rudy Galindo.

“Of course, becoming an Olympian, or having an Olympic medal would have been great to say, ride off on my white horse, but having the ability to say that I have no regrets in my entire career of figure skating, for me that is my gold medal,” Aaron said Thursday night.

Aaron, a former top USA Hockey developmental player, also figure skated growing up to help with his skating skills as one of the smaller players on his team.

He stopped playing hockey at 16 due to a broken vertebra but continued full-time with figure skating. By 2012, Aaron considered quitting figure skating after placing eighth at nationals (one year after being U.S. junior champion) and being told he wasn’t artistic enough.

But Aaron kept with it and completed a remarkable bounce back the next year, winning the U.S. title and setting himself up as a favorite to make the 2014 Olympic team.

But Aaron ended up third at the 2014 U.S. Championships. The two Sochi Olympic spots went to Jeremy Abbott and Jason Brown.

Aaron continued, becoming the first U.S. man to win Skate America in six years in 2015 and topping the short program at the 2016 U.S. Championships before ultimately finishing second to Adam Rippon.

Aaron plummeted to ninth at the 2017 U.S. Championships, coming back from offseason hernia surgery, but returned to the Olympic team radar last fall with a personal-best free skate at Cup of China, including three landed quadruple jumps. He went into the 2018 U.S. Championships ranking third among American men for the season.

But Aaron was again ninth at nationals, missing the Olympic team. He was called on to compete at last month’s world championships as the third alternate after Rippon, Ross Miner and Brown all passed.

Aaron had stopped skating and instead was training for a triathlon. He went to worlds in Milan on two weeks of training and finished 11th, a result that helped the U.S. keep three men’s spots for 2019 Worlds. Nathan Chen won the world title, but Vincent Zhou was 14th. The U.S. needed its second man to be 12th or better to go along with Chen’s first place to ensure three spots next year. Aaron reportedly said at worlds that it may have been his last competition.

Aaron said he’s started a job with Merrill Lynch.

“It’s really been a great ride. I have no regrets,” he said. “That’s one thing that I always told myself, in sport, in life, I want to have no regrets, and I can honestly say, with the help from my coaches and friends, that I have no regrets in the sport.”

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