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Police have opened a murder investigation into the death of Reeva Steenkamp, 30, a model and TV personality who lived with Pistorius.
“There are witnesses and they have been interviewed this morning. We are talking about neighbours and people that heard things earlier in the evening and when the shooting took place,” said Denise Beukes, a police brigadier, in a press conference outside the crime scene.
The incident is believed to have taken place between 4am and 5am local time at the sprinter’s Cape Town residence.
Handgun possession is legal in South Africa if the owner holds a state-issued license.
Police moved Pistorius in a convoy from the police station where he had been held to an unknown destination on Thursday afternoon.
Reeva Steenkamp was reported to have been dating Pistorius for a year and in the social pages of last weekend’s Sunday Independent, she described Pistorius as having “impeccable” taste.
“His gifts are always thoughtful,” she was quoted as saying.
Comments on Steenkamp’s Twitter account before the incident suggest she may have been preparing a Valentine’s Day surprise.
Pistorius, who is known as “Blade Runner,” races wearing carbon-fibre prosthetic blades after he was born without a fibula in both legs.
Pistorius has won six Paralympic gold medals and competed in the 400 metres at the London 2012 Olympics in a historic development after years of controversy over his carbon-fiber “blade” legs, which some claimed would give him an unfair advantage against non-disabled athletes.
He is regarded as one of South Africa’s premier sporting stars and is a national celebrity.
Steenkamp was renowned for her modelling work and had been due to star in a new TV series starting this week.