'Blade Runner' Pistorius Charged in Girlfriend's Murder

Said to have mistaken her for robber, but police not so sure
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 14, 2013 2:21 AM CST
Updated Feb 14, 2013 8:15 AM CST
In this Nov. 4, 2012 photo, South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp, believed to be his girlfriend, attend an awards ceremony, in Johannesburg.   (AP Photo/Lucky Nxumalo-Citypress)
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(Newser) – Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius has been charged with murder after his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, was found dead in his home, Sky News reports. The South African sprinter, a 26-year-old double amputee known as the "Blade Runner," may have taken his girlfriend for a burglar when she arrived to surprise him for Valentine's Day, the site notes. Pistorius has spoken in the past of once taking his gun downstairs when his security alarm went off, according to NDTV. But a police spokesperson cast doubt on that idea. There were earlier "allegations of a domestic nature" at the house, and police are investigating the case as murder.

"The deceased was shot four times and died on the scene," police said. Authorities found a nine-millimeter pistol on the scene in Pretoria, South Africa, following paramedics' arrival early today. "This has come as a complete surprise for a man who’s considered a national hero," a journalist says. "What this actually highlights is the level of fear ordinary South Africans have. It's an innocent surprise from a girlfriend … and the moment he thinks someone is trying to break in he grabs his gun." In a particularly sad aside, some of Steenkamp's last tweets were about her excitement for Valentine's Day. (Read more Oscar Pistorius stories.)

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