Before Thursday, the most controversial thing about Oscar Pistorius, the double-leg-amputee Olympic runner, was whether his prosthetic blade legs gave him an unfair advantage over other runners. Now, police in his native South Africa are charging the 26-year-old "Blade Runner" with murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend, 30-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp, in his home in an upscale gated community outside of Pretoria, the capital. Pretoria police haven't released the name of the victim or the suspect, following South African law, but Steenkamp's agent, Sarita Tomlinson, confirmed that the model is dead.
"We are all devastated. Her family is in shock," Tomlinson tells Reuters. Steenkamp and Pistorious, who dated for about a year, "did have a good relationship.... Nobody actually knows what happened."
South African talk radio speculated that perhaps Pistorius shot Steenkamp after mistaking her for a burglar, given South Africa's high crime rate. Brigadier Denise Beukes of the Pretoria police poured cold water on that report, saying she didn't know where those rumors came from. The police had previously responded to complaints of a "domestic nature" at Pistorius' house, she added, without elaborating. (Watch below.)
On Twitter, one of Steenkamp's last tweets apparently anticipated a happy Valentine's Day: "What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow???" Pistorius' father, Henke Pistorius, tells South African Broadcasting Corp. that he doesn't know anything, and few other people do, either: "It will be extremely obnoxious and rude to speculate. I don't know the facts. If anyone makes a statement, it will be Oscar. He's sad at the moment."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- How Israel's hawks intimidated and silenced the last remnants of the anti-war left
- The real lesson of Rick Perry's mug shot
- Welcome to the age of ambivalent feminism
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- Why China thinks it could defeat the U.S. in battle
- Making officers more diverse isn't enough to stop police violence
- How Ferguson made conservatives lose faith in the police
- What the 'death of the library' means for the future of books
- How the West produces jihadi tourists
Subscribe to the Week