Braegan Padley ‘13
South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius, better known as the “Blade Runner,” was arrested and charged with murder after his girlfriend was found shot to death in his Pretoria apartment on Valentine’s Day.
The 26 year-old track star has been charged with the premeditated murder of Reeva Steenkamp, who prosecutors say was shot four times. A 9mm pistol believed to be the murder weapon was recovered from Pistorious’ home.
Pistorious, who was born without fibulas and had both legs amputated as an infant, garnered worldwide attention at the 2012 London Olympics as the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes.
Early reports suggested Pistorius mistakenly shot Steenkamp when he confused her for an intruder, and family members of the accused insist the shooting was accidental. Accounts from two sports writers appear to lend support to this theory.
During an interview last year, the runner told a New York Times reporter he had crept downstairs the previous night, pistol in hand, when his security system registered a false alarm. A Daily Mail reporter also wrote about an edgy interaction with the runner after the reporter inquired about the pistol in Pistorious’ bedroom.
“Protection, brother,” Pistorious told the Daily Mail reporter. “You can have all the guards in the world at the gate, but the problem is when they are in on the robbery.”
According to sources close to the investigation, a bloody cricket bat was also recovered from the scene. While investigators are still trying to piece together what happened, many believe this new piece of evidence casts doubt on Pistorius’ version of events.
Police further allege there were previous domestic incidents at the Pistorius home, but have declined to elaborate on that claim.
Steenkamp, 30, was a model, actress, and law graduate. According to her family, Steenkamp’s body was returned to her hometown of Port Elizabeth. A private memorial service will be held on Tuesday, the same day Pistorius is due to return to court for his bail hearing. Pistorius remains in custody in a Pretoria police station while awaiting the hearing.
Meanwhile Pistorius’ agent announced Sunday that he has withdrawn Pistorius from all upcoming races in light of the pending case.