Shortly after the games, he made headlines again for shooting and killing his girlfriend, South African model Reeva Steenkamp. He testified today in his murder trial.
|Pistorius and Steemkamp at an all white party|
Pistorius and his defense team claim that the fatal shooting was a big mistake. According to their story, Pistorius thought that intruders were breaking into his house through a tiny bathroom window. After hearing the sounds, he went for his gun and fired a number of rounds from his 9mm pistol. They also claim that he was doing all of this on his stumps, without the aid of his prosthetics.
The prosecution is arguing that Pistorius premeditated the shooting and may have shot Steenkamp in a jealous rage. Different media sources report that Steemkamp may have received a text from an ex-boyfriend, which could have led to a fight. A lead detective in the case also claimed that Pistorius had a violent past and had arrested Pistorius for assault (he was never charged). One account even claims that detectives found a casing in the bedroom, which led some to doubt Pistorius' story. In their version, Pistorius likely fired at Steenkamp in the bedroom. She fled into the bathroom, which is where she met her end.
I don't have data from South Africa, but accidental slayings with guns are extremely rare. Let's look at the US for illustration. In 2010, the CDC reported that there were 31,513 firearm deaths in the US; 19,308 were suicides and 11,015 were homicides. 600 were accidents. That's about 2% of all shooting deaths. I looked around for more data, but couldn't find out what percentage of accidental shootings were self inflicted vs. "other" inflicted. This would be interesting to note, because it could give us a slightly better heuristic for thinking about the statistical probability of Pistorius' story.
I'm certainly interested in seeing how all of this plays out. I just find it hard to believe that someone can fire a bunch of rounds inside their home and mistakenly kill their partner.
What do you think? Is this a terrible accident? Or, is this a crime of passion?