Oscar Pistorius nearly shot a friend at an upmarket restaurant recently when the pistol he was looking at accidentally went off, local media reported on Monday.
The incident occurred less than a month before the star athlete was charged with murder after his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead at his upscale home in the early hours of Valentine's Day.
His family has strongly denied that he intentionally killed his girlfriend and the sprinter is due to appear in court on Tuesday at a bail hearing.
Pistorius was looking at a friend’s gun at a restaurant in Johannesburg when the firearm discharged accidentally, Kevin Lerena told the Afrikaans-language Beeld newspaper.
“I had quite a fright, because the bullet hit the ground centimetres (inches) from my foot,” said Lerena, a professional boxer, who described the incident as “a freak accident”.
“For some reason it got caught on his trousers, flipped the safety pin and a shot went off. I wouldn't say he was negligent. Days afterwards he was still apologising.
“The revolver belonged to one of his friends... he wanted to have a look at it.”
The restaurant manager heard a loud bang, but Oscar and his friends denied anything had happened, he told the newspaper.
Pistorius cancels all future races
Oscar Pistorius has formally called off the races that were due in coming months, his manager said.
He had been contracted to compete in races in Australia, Brazil, Britain and the United States between March and May.
“I have decided that following these tragic events that we have no option but to cancel all future races that Oscar Pistorius had been contracted to compete in, to allow Oscar to concentrate on the upcoming legal proceedings,” manager Peet van Zyl said.
Reeva’s mother wants answers
The family of Reeva Steenkamp on Monday prepared to hold a funeral service for the 29-year-old model, as her bereaved mother pleaded for answers about the death of “the most beautiful person who ever lived”.
The former cover girl will be cremated on Tuesday in her home town of Port Elizabeth, in a private ceremony for family and friends. In an interview published on Monday, Steenkamp’s mother described her death as “horrendous”. “Why my little girl? Why did this happen? Why did he do this?,” June Steenkamp told the Times of South Africa. “What for?”