Pistorius not unfamiliar with pistol

South African athlete had issues with the authorities earlier, says police official

The arrest of Oscar Pistorius for the alleged murder of his girlfriend might have shocked the sporting world but the South African Police said he had previous run-ins with the authorities.

The ‘Blade Runner,’ who made history when he became the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics last year, was expected to appear in court on Friday charged with the killing of 30-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp.

“He is with the police and the matter is in the hands of the authorities,” his father Henke Pistorius said. “Obviously we are shocked. Our thoughts are with the family of the woman involved in this tragedy,” he said. Steenkamp was described by Sarit Tomlins of her management agency as “the kindest, sweetest human being; an angel on earth.”
Police expressed their surprise at media reports that the shooter had mistaken the FHM cover girl as an intruder.

“We were surprised by allegations that the deceased had been perceived to be a burglar,” said police spokeswoman Denise Beukes. “The premises are fairly secure... This is a fairly secure estate. There’s previously been incidents of allegations of domestic disputes at the home of the accused.”
South Africa has some of the world's highest rates of violent crime, and many home owners have weapons to defend themselves against intruders, although Pistorius' complex is surrounded by a three-metre high wall and electric fence.

In 2004, Springbok rugby player Rudi Visagie shot dead his 19-year-old daughter after he mistakenly thought she was a robber trying to steal his car in the middle of the night.

Beukes said they were talking to neighbours who “heard things” earlier in the evening.

Pistorius has previously spoken of carrying a firearm when faced with a potential threat at home and of visiting a shooting range. A year ago he told The New York Times of an incident where he took his gun to go downstairs to check on what turned out to be a false setting off of his security alarm.
He also took the newspaper’s reporter to a nearby shooting range with his 9-millimetre handgun after learning that the journalist had never fired a shot. Asked how frequently he went to the shooting range, Pistorius said: “Just sometimes when I can’t sleep.”

Pistorius was arrested in 2009 for assault after slamming a door on a woman and spent a night in police custody. Family and friends said it was just an accident and charges were dropped.
“He's very quiet and very modest but he's a big party animal,” one of South Africa's top runners, who knows Pistorius, told Reuters. "I've been with him when we've been smashed and he never seemed violent," said the runner, who declined to be named.

Pistorius’ sponsorship deals, including one with sports apparel group Nike, are thought to be worth $2 million a year.

Besides Nike, Pistorius is also sponsored by British telecoms firm BT, sunglasses maker Oakley and French designer Thierry Mugler.

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