Oscar Pistorius, the South African Paralympic gold medalist who was reportedly charged with murder in connection with the death of his girlfriend on Thursday, might have shown hints of domestic problems in his past.
Pistorius, 26, allegedly shot his 29-year-old girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He is scheduled to appear in court on Friday.
During a press conference, police spokeswoman Brigadier Denise Beukes said Pistorius had recently been involved in incidents which included "allegations of a domestic nature," according to the Associated Press.
"I'm not going to elaborate on it, but there have been incidents [at Pistorius' home]," she said. Beukes said police had been called to Pistorius' house in the past, and there were reports from neighbors of shouting and screaming from the house before the shooting.
Police said there were no other suspects in the case, and added that Pistorius will be denied bail, according to the Guardian.
The shooting could have been a Valentine's Day surprise gone horribly wrong, but some in the media are calling attention to hints of violence in Pistorius' past.
An article in The New York Times, published January 18, 2012, reads:
...he 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....
“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. Pistorius was a good coach. A couple of my shots got close to the bull’s-eye, which delighted him. “Maybe you should do this more,” he said. “If you practiced, I think you could be pretty deadly.” I asked him how often he came to the range. “Just sometimes when I can’t sleep,” he said.
Pistorius posted a photograph of himself at a shooting range in November 2011 on Twitter:
Spent the afternoon at the Tormezzo Italian Shooting range. Had a 96% headshot over 300m from 50shots! Bam! lockerz.com/s/160337437
— Oscar Pistorius (@OscarPistorius) November 28, 2011
In November 2012, Pistorius allegedly threatened to break the legs of a former soccer player, Marc Batchelor, according to 2 Oceans Vibe News. The AP called it an "altercation with a local coal mining millionaire over a woman," citing South African media reports.
Also in November of last year, former girlfriend Samantha Taylor hinted at a hidden side to Pistorius, saying, "Oscar is certainly not what people think he is. We dated for a year and a half," according to South Africa's Channel 24.
Taylor reportedly said she was "prepared to reveal what (Pistorius) made me go through," but a lawyer's letter later withdrew her comments.
Reuters noted that Pistorius was arrested in 2009 for assault, in an incident where he reportedly slammed a door on a woman. He spent a night in police custody, but family and friends said it was an accident and charges were dropped.
While Pistorius' guilt or innocence is yet to be proven, journalists covering the case point to the way the police are handling the case, denying bail and distancing themselves from the theory that Pistorius mistook Steenkamp for a burglar.
The Times' Johannesburg Bureau Chief, Lydia Polgreen tweeted:
It seems clearer and clearer that the Police are treating this as a murder, not an accident. #Pistorius.
— Lydia Polgreen (@lpolgreen) February 14, 2013