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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces a Chaotic World and the Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid