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

Yuzuru Hanyu opens Olympic season with record score

Yuzuru Hanyu
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A sore knee didn’t hold Yuzuru Hanyu back. A record score to open his Olympic season.

The Olympic and world champion from Japan hit a pair of quadruple jumps in his short program at the Autumn Classic, a lower-level event in Montreal.

He was rewarded with 112.72 points, the highest short program score recorded under the 13-year-old judging system. Video is here.

It looked like a home competition for Hanyu.

Upon finishing, he bowed toward one set of bleachers (maybe a dozen rows) at the Sportsplexe Pierrefonds. More than two dozen Japanese flags made it hard to see most of the faces.

He bettered Javier Fernández, a two-time world champion and training partner, by 11.52 points. Fernández also landed two quadruple jumps to tally 101.2.

Full scores will be here upon the conclusion of the short program. The free skate is Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. A live stream is here.

Hanyu now owns the three highest short program scores under the 13-year-old system. The other two were set in the 2015-16 season.

Showdowns like Hanyu-Fernández are usually reserved for, at the earliest, the Grand Prix series in late October and November.

Hanyu and Fernández are very familiar with each other, having shared a coach in Canadian Brian Orser, the 1988 Olympic silver medalist, since 2012. They train in Toronto.

In that time, Hanyu became the first Japanese man to win an Olympic title (and the second teen from any nation to do it). He followed it up with world titles later in 2014 and this year.

Fernández achieved unfathomable success for a Spanish skater — world titles in 2015 and 2016, overtaking Hanyu in the free skate both times.

In PyeongChang, Hanyu can become the first man to repeat as Olympic champion since Dick Button in 1952. Fernández can become the third Spaniard to earn a Winter Olympic medal of any color in any sport, and the first since 1992.

The figure skating season continues next week with Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany, the final Olympic qualifying competition. North Korea could clinch its first spots in any sport for the Olympics in the pairs event.

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USOC letter assures Olympians about South Korea security

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The U.S. Olympic Committee’s security chief sent a letter to potential Winter Olympians saying there are no indications that recent developments between the U.S. and North Korea have compromised security in South Korea.

The letter, obtained by The Associated Press shortly after it was sent Friday, makes no suggestion that the U.S. is considering skipping the PyeongChang Winter Games for security reasons.

But Chief Security Officer Nicole Deal does write that provocations that have been volleyed between the United States and North Korea are likely to persist for the foreseeable future, and “should not be dismissed as insignificant nor feared as precursors of an inevitable conflict.”

The letter comes at the end of a week in which France’s sports minister suggested the country’s athletes would stay home if security could not be guaranteed.

The International Olympic Committee, trying to calm concerns, reiterated that in conversations with high-level officials in China and South Korea, none have expressed doubt about the Winter Games proceeding as scheduled, next February.

The USOC also sent out a public statement Friday from CEO Scott Blackmun.

“We will continue to work with our State Department and local organizers to ensure that our athletes, and our entire delegation, are safe,” he said.

The letter, sent to athletes, national governing bodies and other Olympic leaders in the United States, said the USOC’s security division is operating as “business as usual for our security planning and preparations.”

Deal writes that the USOC is reviewing crisis management plans that address a range of potential scenarios “to ensure our athletes, and our entire delegation, are safe.”

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