Oscar Pistorius, the South African sprinter who last year became the first-ever double amputee to run in the Olympic games, was arrested and charged with murder in Pretoria today after allegedly shooting and killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Early reports suggested that Steenkamp may have been attempting to surprise Pistorius—known as "Blade Runner" for his metal prosthetics—on Valentine's Day, only to be taken as a burglar by a guy known to respond to security alarms by "grabb[ing] his gun and tiptoe[ing] downstairs." But police officials have resisted those rumors, telling reporters that officers had been called to his home before over "complaints of a 'domestic nature.'"
Steenkamp, a 30-year-old law graduate, model, and reality TV star, was apparently shot four times at Pistorius' house early Thursday morning. She was treated by paramedics and pronounced dead at the scene. The rumor that she'd been planning a surprise for Pistorius may come from speculation by neighbors, as well as Steenkamp's tweet yesterday:
Police, who will oppose bail for the runner at a hearing later today, say they don't know where those reports began, and don't endorse them; they've been called to the same house before over "domestic incidents."
Pistorius won an individual gold in the 400m at last year's Paralympic games, and competed in the 4x400m relay final in the Olympic games a month prior. He is, as The New York Times Magazine documented last year, a gun enthusiast in a country of gun enthusiasts, and known to take home security into his own hands:
[H]e mentioned that a security alarm in the house had gone off the previous night, and he had grabbed his gun and tiptoed downstairs. (It turned out to be nothing.) I asked what kind of gun he owned, which he seemed to take as an indication of my broader interest in firearms. I had to tell him I didn't own any. "But you've shot one, right?" Actually, I hadn't. [...] "We should go to the range," he said. He fetched his 9-millimeter handgun and two boxes of ammunition. We got back in the car and drove to a nearby firing range, where he instructed me on proper technique. [...] I asked him how often he came to the range. "Just sometimes when I can't sleep," he said.
Twitter has uncovered this old tweet from Pistorius, too:
Nothing like getting home to hear the washing machine on and thinking its an intruder to go into full combat recon mode into the pantry! waa— Oscar Pistorius (@OscarPistorius) November 27, 2012