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South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee who became known as ‘Blade Runner’ when he ran in the Olympics in London, has been charged in the murder of his girlfriend at his Pretoria home.
According to South Africa’s Globe & Mail, police said they are investigating the murder of a 30-year-old woman on Thursday. They further confirmed that a 9mm pistol was found at the scene, along with a 26-year-old man who was arrested.
“There are witnesses and they have been interviewed this morning. We are talking to neighbours and people that heard things earlier in the evening and when the shooting took place," police Brigadier Denise Beukes told the media outside the residential complex. “At this stage he is on his way to a district surgeon for medical examination and will be appearing at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court at 2pm this afternoon.”
Local media reports have identified the man as Pistorius. He had been dating Reeva Steenkamp, a model. The circumstances aren’t clear, but Talk Radio 702 in Johannesburg had reported that it is possible that he mistook her for a burglar.
As The New York Times notes, Pistorius won two gold medals at the Paralympics in London last summer. During the Olympics, he reached the 400-meter semifinal, making headlines around the world. He used carbon fiber prosthetic blades to compete.
Police spokeswoman Col. Katlego Mogale said that they responded to reports of gunshots early Thursday morning, but would not comment on speculation about the motive. Nogale said that Pistorius has been charged with murder.
Reuters reports that South Africa still has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the world. The complex where Pistorius lives has a three-meter high electric fence surrounding it.
Pistorius and Steenkamp have been dating for a year. On Wednesday, she tweeted, “What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow???”