Oscar Pistorius trial: Friend says Pistorius had 'big love' for guns

South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius attends his ongoing murder trial on March 11, 2014, in Pretoria. Pistorius was passionate about guns, a friend testified on Tuesday, telling the court how the Paralympian had fired a gun through a sunr
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius attends his ongoing murder trial on March 11, 2014, in Pretoria. Pistorius was passionate about guns, a friend testified on Tuesday, telling the court how the Paralympian had fired a gun through a sunroof and again inside a crowded restaurant. -- PHOTO: AFP

PRETORIA (AFP) - Oscar Pistorius was passionate about guns, a friend testified Tuesday, telling the court how the Paralympian had fired a gun through a sunroof and again inside a crowded restaurant.

"We had been to the shooting range before and I knew he had a big love of weapons," said Darren Fresco in his testimony during the South African sprinter's trial for shooting dead his girlfriend.

Prosecutors have levelled two counts of firing a gun in public against Pistorius, as well as the murder charge. He faces a fourth charge of illegal possession of unlicensed ammunition. The 27-year-old double amputee has pleaded not guilty to all four charges.

Mr Fresco was with Pistorius when he fired a gun through the sunroof of a moving car in 2012. Pistorius shot at a traffic light after a row with traffic police. Mr Fresco and Pistorius's then-girlfriend Samantha Taylor were also in the car.

"I was driving, the accused was in the passenger seat, Sam Taylor was in the back of the car, and without prior warning he shot out of the sunroof," said Mr Fresco.

"Once I'd flinched over to the right-hand side of the vehicle, having backed down, I saw the weapon being brought back into the car through the sunroof."

Asked of his reaction, Mr Fresco told Judge Thokozile Masipa: "Apologies my lady but I asked if he was 'fucking mad'." "He just laughed."

Pistorius had reportedly been angry because a traffic police officer had touched his gun, which lay on the passenger seat when the car was pulled over for speeding.

"Then there was an altercation, a verbal altercation between the accused and the metro police officer," said Mr Fresco. "'You can't just touched another man's gun'," the athlete was said to have remarked angrily. "'Now your fingerprints are all over the gun, so once something happens you are going to be liable,'" he said, according to Mr Fresco.

Mr Fresco also testified about the shooting incident at Tashas restaurant in January 2013, when his gun went off while Pistorius was inspecting the weapon.

A bullet slightly grazed the toe of another friend, boxer Kevin Lerena, who testified last Wednesday.

Pistorius then asked Mr Fresco to take the blame, which Mr Fresco agreed to do.

"Instantly he passed the weapon back to me, under the table, and he said 'Please, there's too much media hype around me at the moment, please can you take the rap?' according to Mr Fresco.

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