News / Africa

S. African Olympic Runner Charged with Murder

Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius leaves the Boschkop police station, east of Pretoria, South Africa, Feb. 14, 2013 en route to appear in court charged with murder.
Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius leaves the Boschkop police station, east of Pretoria, South Africa, Feb. 14, 2013 en route to appear in court charged with murder.
South African running star Oscar Pistorius -- the first double-amputee to run at the Olympics -- will appear in court Friday on murder charges after a woman was shot dead at his residence.  Peter Cox reports from Johannesburg on new details in the case.

Olympic and Paralympic athlete Pistorius, 26, was taken into custody early Thursday for allegedly shooting and killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria.
 
Oscar Pistorius

  • Born without fibula bones
  • Legs amputated below the knee at 11 months
  • Ran with carbon fiber prosthetics that earned him nickname "Blade Runner"
  • In 2008, successfully appealed ban against competing in major competitions
  • Failed to qualify for Beijing Olympics
  • Won gold in 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters at 2008 Paralympics
  • In 2012, became first double-amputee to run in the Olympics
Confirming the shooting, police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale  said a murder case has been opened.
 
"In the early hours of this morning, police were called to an incident of shooting at Oscar Pistorius' house.  When they arrived they found a 30-year-old woman being attended to by paramedics, who then declared her dead on the scene," he announced.  "Further investigation in the house resolved a 9-millimeter firearm and a 26-year-old man has been taken into custody."
 
National police spokeswoman Denise Beukes told reporters there was no sign of forced entry at Pistorius' home in Pretoria. 

"The only two people on the premises were the resident and the deceased," she said, "and again the number of shots fired are part of the ongoing investigation."

Arraignment

Pistorius was originally to appear in court Thursday afternoon.  The appearance has now been postponed until Friday. 

"The reason he did not appear today as it was planned, is because the police have been busy with the preliminary investigations," explained South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Medupe Simasiku. "The preliminary forensic investigations, your blood test and stuff.  Those are the things they need to do as soon as possible."

Simasiku added that Pistorius would be held overnight.

  • Olympic and Paralympic running star Oscar Pistorius stands during court proceedings at the Pretoria Magistrates court, August 19, 2013.
  • Oscar Pistorius cries as he prays with his sister Aimee and brother Carl in the magistrates court in Pretoria, South Africa, August 19, 2013.
  • A man holds signs ahead of the court proceedings of Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria Magistrates court, August 19, 2013.
  • A woman holds a photo of Reeva Steenkamp as she leaves her funeral in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, February 19, 2013.
  • Oscar Pistorius weeps in court at his bail hearing in Pretoria, February 15, 2013.
  • Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg, November 4, 2012.
  • A newspaper vendor sets up his stall outside court ahead of Pistorius' court appearance in Pretoria, February 15, 2013.
  • Carl Pistorius, brother of Oscar, attends his brother's court appearance in Pretoria February 15, 2013.
  • This aerial image taken from video provided by VNS24/7 shows the home of Oscar Pistorius in a gated housing complex in Pretoria, South Africa, February 14, 2013.
  • Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius leaves the Boschkop police station, east of Pretoria, South Africa, February 14, 2013.
  • Oscar Pistorius celebrates winning the men's 400 meter final during the London 2012 Paralympic Games, September 8, 2012.
  • Pistorius celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men's 400m T44 classification during the London 2012 Paralympic Games, September 8, 2012.

Before the murder

Police confirm reports that neighbors heard yelling and shouting at the running star's home at the time of the shooting.  Police spokeswoman Beukes told reporters there have been calls to Pistorius' home before.

"I can't confirm whether it's related to the person who has been arrested, but I can confirm that there have previously been incidents at the home of Mr. Oscar Pistorius," Beukes said.

The victim is believed to be Pretorius’ girlfriend, former model Reeva Steenkamp, 30. Steenkamp's public relations agency, Capacity Relations, confirmed she has died.

Jane Celliers, the director of Steenkamp’s modeling agency, said Steenkamp was a vivacious and successful model -- and an accomplished law student.  She had worked for the agency for seven years.

Celliers said Pistorius and Steenkamp started dating at the end of last year and that Steenkamp had been happy with Pistorius.
 
“We do not know what has happened and what has gone down at this time.  We are just incredibly devastated, as you can imagine," she admitted.  "And are waiting every half an hour.  When the news comes on and are listening with bated breath to hear what is going on.”
 
Disability

Pistorius was born without fibula bones and his legs were amputated below the knee when he was just 11 months old.  He inspired millions by becoming a world class runner using high-tech prosthetics made out of a carbon-fiber compound.  The prosthetics won him a nickname -- the "blade runner" -- and his performance earned him a spot on South Africa's track-and-field squad at last year's Olympics in London.
 
The news that one of the country's most well-known athletes has been involved in a shooting is leaving many South Africans stunned, including Lizelle Van Huyssteen of Johannesburg.

"I was just so shocked and dismayed and my first feeling was that it was very tragic and I feel sorry for the guy, if that's what happened," Van Huyssteen said.
 
As many here speculate on what may have happened at Pistorius' residence, they all can agree that the situation is tragic.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs