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South African Blade Runner, Pistorius charged with murder of girlfriend

South African Blade Runner, Pistorius charged with murder of girlfriend

 

Oscar Pistorius has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend after model Reeva Steenkamp was shot inside the Olympic athlete's home in South Africa.

 

Police said a 26-year-old male would appear in court later on Thursday. Police in South Africa do not name suspects in crimes until they have appeared in court but police spokesperson Brigadier Denise Beukes said that Pistorius was at his home after the death of Steenkamp and "there is no other suspect involved."

Beukes said the suspect was undergoing blood alcohol and forensic tests and had made a request to be brought to court immediately. Beukes said he would apply for bail, but the South African Police Service would oppose the application.

Beukes said there had been "previous incidents" at Pistorius' home.

Lt. Col. Katlego Mogale told The Associated Press that police received a call that there had been a shooting at the runner's home. South African media reported that the shooting took place about 4 a.m. local time (9 p.m. ET Wednesday). Mogale said when police arrived, they found paramedics trying to revive the woman, who had been shot an unspecified number of times. Mogale said the woman died at the house.

Officers found a 9-mm pistol at the scene.

The Afrikaans-language newspaper Beeld first reported that Pistorius may have mistaken Steenkamp for a burglar. The newspaper reported that the two were a couple for a year.

South Africa's Sports Confederation and Olympic committee released a statement saying 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 South African Olympic committee said. "The organization 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."

SACOC said it would be inappropriate to comment because of the ongoing police investigation.

Pistorius, a double-amputee known as "Blade Runner," made history at the London Olympics last year when he became the first double-amputee runner to compete on the track at the Games and is one of South Africa's most famous athletes.

Having had both of his legs amputated below the knee when he was less than a year old, he campaigned for years to be allowed to compete against able-bodied athletes and finally was cleared by sport's highest court to be able to run at the top events. Pistorius competed in the 400 meters and on South Africa's 4x400 relay team at the London Games and also retained his Paralympic title in the 400 meters in London.

-AP