Pistorius Trial

Washing Machine Put Pistorius into 'Combat Mode,' Witness Says

PRETORIA, South Africa - Oscar Pistorius said he drew his gun and went into "combat mode" after hearing the noise of a possible intruder at home, which turned out to be a washing machine, a guns expert testified Monday.

Sean Rens, manager of the International Firearm Training Academy, also said he had many conversations about guns with Pistorius, who is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He said the double-amputee runner had "a great love and enthusiasm" for firearms.


Rens said he met Pistorius in 2012 and trained in a gun range with him, and that Pistorius was seeking to collect guns. In one conversation, Pistorius described how he was startled by a noise at home and decided to clear the house by drawing his gun and checking rooms, according to Rens.

"He went into what we call 'code red' or combat mode," Rens said. "When he came to the source of the noise, it was the laundry or something."

Pistorius tweeted about the incident in November 2012: "Nothing like getting home to hear the washing machine on and thinking its (sic) an intruder to go into full combat recon mode into the pantry!"

Image:  Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp on Nov. 4, 2012
Oscar Pistorius poses with his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Nov. 4, 2012. The track star shot her on Valentine's Day last year but denies murder. FRENNIE SHIVAMBU / EPA

Pistorius said he killed Steenkamp by accident before dawn on Feb. 14, 2013, shooting her through a closed toilet door after mistaking her for an intruder in his home. Prosecutors say he killed the model and law graduate intentionally after an argument.

Steenkamp's mother, June, was in the Pretoria courtroom for a second time Monday but had left by the time a police photographer described images he took in the bloody bathroom scene where her daughter was shot.

June Steenkamp last attended the trial on the opening day on March 3.

The trial continues.

- The Associated Press