It may be the most tragic Valentine’s Day surprise gone wrong. Olympian track star Oscar Pistorius has been charged with murder after he allegedly shot his girlfriend in the head and arm early this morning at his home. She died on the scene.
Details are still developing in the case -- some sources say the victim, model Reeva Steenkamp, arrived unannounced in the wee hours to celebrate Valentine's Day. Pistorius has had problems with burglaries before, police say, so he may have fired to protect himself and his house. Others claim he’s had issues with domestic violence in the past and this may be a very criminal boiling over of tempers.
Police are still piecing parts of the story together and the media (including me) is nibbling on every find as the details unfold. Even Pistorius’ father seems unsure what to make of the whole tragedy, except to say his son is the only one with all of the facts but that “he’s sad at the moment.”
The South African superstar became the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics when he ran track events last summer and, in the process, became a symbol of heroism, determination, and sportsmanship. He went on to win gold medals in the 4 x 100 meter relay and 400-meter individual events at the 2012 Paralympic Games a month later.
Now the 26-year-old athlete, who is known as the “Blade Runner” and is a huge star internationally and in his home country, is on the wrong side of headlines. Police are expected to oppose bail. An initial hearing was postponed to give forensic investigators time to do their work, according to the Associated Press. In the meantime, Pistorius remains in custody and is said to be cooperating with police.
No matter what really happened—and I’m sure the real sequence of events will come out soon enough—the story is beyond unfortunate. If he shot her by accident, it would be the saddest of mistaken identity cases. If he shot her on purpose, it would be another instance of unchecked domestic violence brimming over into murder. Either way, my prayers go out to the victim’s family and to all of the fans hoping that their venerated hero isn’t a cold-blooded killer.
What do you make of the case?
Image via Elvar Freyr/Flickr