PRETORIA, South Africa (CNN) — The 29-year-old girlfriend of South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius was found fatally shot in his upscale Pretoria home early Thursday, authorities said.
Police charged a 26-year-old man — the same age as Pistorius — with murder in connection with the shooting and said he will appear in a Pretoria magistrate court Thursday afternoon. But they would not say whether the suspect was Pistorius.
“We can confirm he was taken to a police station but can’t confirm if he is the suspect,” said police spokeswoman Denise Beukes. “You will find out in the afternoon.”
Pistorius, nicknamed the “Blade Runner,” made history when he became the first Paralympian to compete in the able-bodied Olympics last year.
The victim was model Reeva Steenkamp, according to Capacity Relations, the agency that represents her.
Beukes said the home did not appear to show signs of forced entry and that Pistorius and the victim were the only two people at the time of the shooting.
She also said there had “previous incidents” at the home.
“Allegations of a domestic nature,” Beukes said.
Police said Pistorius was cooperating with them.
Several South African media outlets reported that the woman was mistaken for an intruder.
Beukes said she was aware of the reports, but that they did not come from the police force.
A spokeswoman for Pistorius declined to comment. His father, Henke, told the South African Broadcasting Corporation said Pistorius was “sad at the moment.”
“I don’t know nothing. It will be extremely obnoxious and rude to speculate,” the father said. “I don’t know the facts.”
Police were alerted to the shooting by neighbors and that residents “heard things earlier,” Buekes said.
A pistol was recovered at the scene, police said.
South Africa has a high crime rate, and it’s not unusual for homeowners to keep weapons to protect themselves from intruders.
“This is a very quiet area and this is a secure estate,” Buekes said.
Pistorius, a double-amputee, ran with the aid of prosthetic limbs during the London Olympics last year, the first Paralympian to compete in the able-bodied Olympics.
The runner’s legs were amputated below the knee when he was a toddler because of a bone defect. He runs on special carbon fiber blades, hence the nickname.
While he failed to win a medal in the Olympics, his presence on the track was lauded as an example of victory over adversity and a lesson in dedication to a goal.
Pistorius was initially refused permission to compete against able-bodied competitors, but he hired a legal team to prove that his artificial limbs didn’t give him an unfair advantage.
He smashed a Paralympic record to win the men’s 400m T44 in the final athletics event of the 2012 Games.
The athlete was named one of People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive last year.