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In tragic news that has shocked the world, South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, who died at the the runner’s home in Pretoria early Thursday morning. The 29-year-old woman reportedly passed away from gunshot wounds to the upper body and to the head, according to the BBC.
A 9mm gun was taken from the scene by police. Pistorius was charged with murder and is expected to appear at a court hearing on Friday. Police spokeswoman Brigadier Denise Beukes confirmed to the AP that Pistorius was at his home at the time of the incident. Under South African law, a suspect cannot be identified until that person has taken part in a court hearing, but Beukes went on to say that no one else has been linked to the murder.
Initial reports from local press suggested that Pistorius might have mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder, but the police are carrying out a murder investigation. “I can’t confirm that it’s related to the person that’s arrested, but I can confirm there has previously been incidents at the home of Mr. Oscar Pistorius,” said Beukes, according to the Irish Times.
Pistorius, 26, became a worldwide figure of inspiration when he became the first double amputee to take part at the Olympic Games last summer in London. The South African was born with a condition called fibular hemimelia and had a double amputation before he turned one. He runs with carbon fiber blades, which many argue give him an unfair edge, but he persisted with his career on and off the track to get the right to compete at the highest level.
In his Paralympic career, Pistorius has won six gold medals, one silver and one bronze. At the Olympic Games in London, he qualified out of his heat in second place before bowing out at the semi-final stage.