Pistorius fired gun in eatery, tried to shift blame: friend
Paralympian star Oscar Pistorius fired a gun in an upmarket restaurant, grazing his boxer friend's foot, then asked another to take the blame, a South African court heard Wednesday.
Three days into the athlete’s trial for his lover’s premeditated killing, the state called his friend Kevin Lerena to testify about one of three other charges against Pistorius.
A bullet Pistorius allegedly fired in a Johannesburg eatery Tashas in January 2013 grazed the 21-year-old professional boxer’s foot, he testified before Judge Thokozile Masipa.
“A shot went off in the restaurant, then there was just complete silence,” said Lerena, the state’s fourth witness in Pistorius’s murder trial.
“Once the shot went off, I was shocked,” said Lerena, who also calls himself the “KO Kid”.
“I looked down, and just where my foot was stationary, there was a hole in the floor.”
“I had a little graze on my toe. I wasn’t hurt or injured,” he said, but added that “there was blood.”
The athlete apologised profusely, but then asked his friend Darren Fresco, the owner of the gun, to take the blame.
“Please, I don’t want any attention around me. Just say it was you,” he pleaded, according to Lerena.
Dressed in a black suit and a crimson tie, Lerena said he met Pistorius at a luxury car dealership.
The Daytona Group, which sells Aston Martins and McLarens, is run by another Pistorius friend and state witness, Justin Divaris.
British 400-metre sprinter Martyn Rooney, one of the four friends at the restaurant, was training with Pistorius at the time.
The gun allegedly went off after Fresco passed it under the table to Pistorius.
He is also charged with firing a gun through a moving car’s sunroof and with the illegal possession of ammunition.
The state is expected to use these incidents to illustrate past reckless behaviour in their argument to prove the runner planned to kill his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year.
Pistorius maintains he shot the 29-year-old through a locked bathroom door in the early morning hours thinking she was an intruder.
Broadcast live on television and radio, the case has elicited worldwide interest.