PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - Paralympic superstar Oscar Pistorius was charged today with the murder of his girlfriend who was shot inside his home in South Africa, a stunning development in the life of a national hero known as the "Blade Runner" for his high-tech artificial legs.
Reeva Steenkamp, a model who spoke out on Twitter against rape and abuse of women, was shot four times in the predawn hours in the home, in a gated community in the capital, Pretoria, police said.
Hours later after undergoing police questioning, Pistorius left a police station accompanied by officers. He looked down as photographers snapped pictures, the hood on his gray workout jacket pulled up, covering most of his face. His court hearing was originally scheduled for this afternoon but has been postponed until Friday to give investigators time to carry out their work, said Medupe Simasiku, a spokesman for the prosecution.
In this Aug. 5 file photo, South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius starts in the men’s 400-meter semifinal during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Police said there had "previously been incidents at the home of Mr. Oscar Pistorius." Police in South Africa do not name suspects in crimes until they have appeared in court but police spokesperson Brigadier Denise Beukes said that the 26-year-old Pistorius was at his home at the time of the death of Steenkamp and "there is no other suspect involved."
"Yes there are witnesses and there have also been interviews this morning," Beukes told reporters outside the gated complex where Pistorius lived. "We are talking about neighbors and people that heard things that happened earlier in the evening and when the shooting took place."
Police said that earlier reports that Steenkamp may have been mistaken for a burglar by Pistorius did not come from the police. Several local media outlets had initially reported that the shooting may have been accidental.
"It would be very premature and very irresponsible of me to say what actually has happened," Beukes said. "There have been allegations. We are not sure."
Beukes also said there had been previous incidents and "allegations of a domestic nature" at the home of the Olympic star and double-amputee runner, who is one of South Africa's and the world's most famous sportsmen and made history at the London Games last year by being the first double-amputee runner to compete at the Olympics.
"I'm not going to elaborate on it but there have been incidents (at Pistorius' home)," Beukes said.