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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More