South African Paralympic and Olympic “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius has been charged with murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, who died of four gunshot wounds at the athlete’s home, on Valentine’s Day in South Africa.
Pistorius, 26, will appear in Pretoria court on Friday, confirmed by police. Police said they had opened a murder investigation.
“We found a 9mm pistol at the scene. A 26-year-old man was taken into custody,” a police spokeswoman said.
There was speculation in the local media that Pistorius may have mistaken his girlfriend for a burglar and the shooting could have been result of a Valentine’s Day surprise gone wrong.
However, police spokeswoman Denis Beukes said earlier reports that the suspect had been surprised by his girlfriend and had thought she was an intruder did not come from police.
She said there had been reports from neighbors of shouting and screaming coming from the house earlier in the evening, according to The Guardian.
South Africa has some of the world's highest rates of violent crime and some homeowners carry weapons to defend themselves against intruders.
Oscar Pistorius of South Africa crosses the line to win gold for this team in the Men's 4x100m relay T42/T46 Final on day 7 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on September 5, 2012 in London, England. ( Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
In an interview with The New York Times Magazine published in 2012, Pistorius said he had a 9-mm pistol and had wielded it in response to a false alarm at his home.
Moreover, Pistorius tweeted on Nov. 27 of another false alarm that may have prompted him to grab his weapon.
“Nothing like getting home to hear the washing machine on and thinking its an intruder to go into full combat recon mode into the pantry!” he posted, according to The New York Times.
Reeva Steenkamp, left, with Oscar Pistorius in 2012. (Lucky Nxumalo/Agence France-Presse - Getty Image)
Steenkamp, who is a law graduate, Christian, cover girl, realty tv show contestant, and FHM model, twitted on Wednesday, a day before Valentine’s Day, “What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow???”
Pistorius grew up in a Christian home. He was born with fibular hemimelia (congenital absence of the fibula) in both legs, where his legs were amputated halfway between his knees and ankles.
Although he had tattoed the Bible verse 1 Corinthians 9:26 which begins, “I do not run like a man running aimlessly”, on the inside of his right arm, it is still uncertain as to why the fatal shooting took place.
South Africa's Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee said in a statement that it had been inundated with requests for comment but was not in a position to give out any details of the shooting.
"SASCOC, like the rest of the public, knows no more than what is in the public domain, which is there has been an alleged fatal shooting on the basis of a mistaken identity and an apparent assumption of a burglary.
"The organisation is in no position to comment on the incident other than to say our deepest sympathy and condolences have been expressed to the families of all concerned."