Oscar Pistorius’ restaurant gun incident recounted at murder trial; Day 3 recap (video)

Oscar Pistorius
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Oscar Pistorius‘ murder trial shifted focus to a January 2013 restaurant incident, when he accidentally shot a gun under a table and convinced a friend to take the blame, according to a witness.

Three witnesses testified Wednesday about a lunch incident at a Johannesburg restaurant — professional boxer Kevin Lerena (who was part of the four-man party including Pistorius at the table) and the restaurant’s owner and wife.

The group members at the table were Lerena, Pistorius, two-time British Olympic 400m runner Martyn Rooney and Darren Fresco. Fresco passed a gun under the table to Pistorius, who accidentally shot it, grazing Lerena’s foot and putting a hole through the floor, Lerena said.

Pistorius apologized, asked if everybody was OK and, before anybody came to the table, asked Fresco to take the blame for the gunshot. Pistorius cited the amount of media hype around him when asking Fresco, Lerena said. Fresco obliged.

The incident could affect the judgment of the murder charge against Pistorius for shooting and killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on the early morning of Valentine’s Day 2013 in Pretoria. Pistorius fired a gun in both cases and did not own up to the restaurant shooting, according to Lerena’s testimony.

Pistorius, the first double amputee to run at the Olympics in 2012, has said he thought Steenkamp was an intruder in his bathroom when he shot four times through the door and killed her last year.

The prosecution asserts Pistorius shot her after a fight. Pistorius could face life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder with a minimum of 25 years.

The trial is scheduled to resume Thursday at 2:30 a.m. ET.

Here’s NBC News’ full recap from Wednesday.

Here’s video of Lerena describing the silence and shock of the restaurant gun incident and Pistorius asking Fresco to take the blame:

Here’s audio of the restaurant owner’s wife saying she hit Fresco over the head after reminding him of gun safety:

Here’s some atmosphere from Pretoria via Twitter:

Here are photos from Pretoria via The Associated Press:

source: AP
Pistorius is mobbed by media as he is escorted by police outside court.
source: AP
Defense attorney Barry Roux talks with Pistorius.
source: AP
Pistorius places his hand over his face while sitting in the dock in court.

Video: Ato Boldon offers perspective on Oscar Pistorius

Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein
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Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

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British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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