News Column

Oscar Pistorius Charged With Murder

Feb. 14, 2013

Police said they charged South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius with murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend, whom he may have thought was a burglar.

Pistorius, 26, appeared severely shocked when questioned by police at his home in Pretoria, the Afrikaans daily Beeld reported.

Model Reeva Steenkamp, 30, was shot in the head and arm around 3 a.m. and was declared dead at the scene, a police spokeswoman said.

"He is being charged with murder and he will appear in the Pretoria regional court later this afternoon," a police spokesman told NBC News.

Police said they were "surprised" to hear Pistorius may have thought Steenkamp was an intruder, the BBC reported. They said there had been previous "allegations of a domestic nature" reported at the address of the couple's home.

Police said they found a 9-mm pistol in the house, Beeld said.

South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world and many people have guns in their homes to protect against intruders, the BBC reported.

Dozens of people posted messages on Steenkamp's Facebook page expressing sadness and shock.

"Rest in peace beautiful soul," read one message. "Such a terrible tragedy and loss," read another.

Pistorius was born without a fibula in both legs and had his legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old. He races wearing carbon-fiber prosthetic blades and is known as the "Blade Runner."

Pistorius is the first double amputee to run in the Olympic Games, qualifying for the 400-meter semifinals and 4x400-meter final at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

During and after the competition he regularly sent photos through Twitter of Steenkamp and him together, The Guardian said.



Source: Copyright United Press International 2013


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