Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius was arrested early this morning at his South African mansion for the shooting death of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp. Authorities say Steenkamp was shot multiple times around 4 a.m. while apparently attempting a Valentine’s Day surprise. Pistorius is believed to have mistaken her for a burglar.
Police spokeswoman Denise Beukes says witnesses in Pistorius’ gated community in Pretoria have been interviewed. "Yes, there are witnesses, and there have also been interviews this morning. We are talking about neighbors and people that heard things that happened earlier in the evening and when the shooting took place,” Beukes told reporters.
Pistorius was cooperative during interrogation and forensic tests. He has been charged with murder and will make his first court appearance on Friday. Police recovered a 9 mm pistol from his home.
Steenkamp, 30, was shot in the head, the chest and the arm. The model’s publicist Sarit Tomlinson said her family is devastated. "Our thoughts and prayers go to the Steenkamp family, who have asked to have their privacy respected during this difficult time, everyone is simply devastated. She was the kindest, sweetest human being; an angel on earth and will be sorely missed,” Tomlinson said.
The day before her death Steenkamp tweeted about being excited for Valentine’s Day. “What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow??? #getexcited #ValentinesDay,” she wrote.
Pistorius’ father Henke refused to speculate on what happened. “I don't know nothing. It will be extremely obnoxious and rude to speculate. I don't know the facts,” said Henke. “If anyone makes a statement, it will have to be Oscar. He's sad at the moment.”
The 26-year-old athlete’s agent Peet van Zyl said the tragic incident is likely a “terrible mistake.” “Oscar is a humble person and a lovely guy - I’m sure what’s happened has been a terrible mistake but I really don’t have the details at the moment,” Zyl said.
Pistorius and Steenkamp had been dating for about 2 months. Pistorius is nicknamed Blade Runner and “the fastest man on no legs” because he sprints on carbon fiber blades. He was born with fibular hemimelia, or the absence of fibula, in both legs and had them amputated below the knee before his first birthday. He has competed in the Paralympics and became the first double amputee to sprint in the able-bodied Olympics.
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