Olympic and Paralympic Star Fatally Shot Woman Outside of His Home
Although the woman’s name has currently been unconfirmed, Oscar Pistorius – a 26-year-old South African athlete who became famous for becoming the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics in 2012 – has been arrested on criminal charges for fatally shooting his alleged girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius is considered by many to be a South African national hero. At last year’s summer Olympics, he made history by becoming the first double amputee to compete in the relay races. Because of a genetic condition, Pistorius’s legs were amputated when he was just one year old. However, with the help of two carbon fiber prosthetics, Pistorius began running in 2004 and competing in both handicapped and able-bodied relays in 2007.
Time Magazine named him one of the most influential people of 2012.
The victim, Reeva Steenkamp, was a model and actress who Tweeted avidly against domestic violence and rape. She was a recent contestant on South African reality show “Tropika Island of Treasure 5.” She was in the list of FHM Magazine’s 100 Sexiest Women two years in a row.
Although their relationship remains unconfirmed, Pistorius’s former coach, Andrea Giannini, believed that the two had been dating “for a few months.” They were first seen together publically at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg. Steenkamp later began mentioning the athlete on Twitter.
Authorities believe that the fatal shooting was accidental. Steenkamp was shot 4 times, but investigators say that Pistorius believed her to be a burglar, breaking into his home in the early hours.
Police were called to the scene at 3 AM. They arrested Pistorius on criminal charges. His initial hearing was set for later on Thursday, February 14th, but has been postponed to Friday, February 15th, to allow more time for an autopsy.
A History of Problems Leading to the Criminal Charges
“I’m not going to elaborate on it but there have been incidents (at Pistorius’ home),” Police spokeswoman Brigadier Denise Beukes . She added that there had been allegations of domesetic violence in Pistorius’s home.
In 2009, Pistorius crashed his boat while piloting down the Vaal River. Witnesses claimed he had been drinking at the time of the crash, and investigators found evidence of alcoholic beverages in the wreckage. However, officers on the scene admitted that they did not conduct a blood test for Pistorius’s blood alcohol level. The athlete broke his nose, jaw, and several ribs in the crash, and also damaged his eye socket.
The following November, Pistorius was in an altercation with a local coal mining millionaire over a woman, according to South African media. The two men had to call in the South African Police Service’s elite investigative unit, the Hawks, before the matter was settled.
Pistorius is also a long-time firearms aficionado. In 2011, he posted a picture to Twitter of himself at a shooting range, which accompanied the Tweet: “Had a 96% headshot over 300m from 50shots! Bam!” He has long enjoyed target shooting, and even took a journalist from the New York Times to the shooting range as part of an interview in 2012. The article included a mention that, the night before the interview, Pistorius had pulled a pistol to search his home after his alarm went off.
Pistorius’s father, who was on a South African radio show on Thursday morning, told the hosts that he did not know the facts. “If anyone makes a statement, it will have to be Oscar. He’s sad at the moment.”
Although criminal charges have been filed and a murder investigation opened, authorities still believe that Pistorius did not shoot Steenkamp intentionally.
Defense Against Criminal Charges in South Carolina
If you face criminal charges in South Carolina, including criminal domestic violence, it is imperative that you speak with a lawyer immediately. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm collectively have over 30 years of experience with South Carolina criminal charges and defense. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.