PRETORIA, South Africa - Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee sprinter dubbed the Blade Runner, was charged Thursday in the Valentine's Day slaying of his girlfriend at his upscale home.
Pistorius buried his face in the hood of his workout jacket as officers escorted him from a police station after his arrest in the shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp, a 30-year-old model who had spoken out on Twitter against rape and abuse of women.
Police said she was shot four times in the predawn hours at Pistorius' villa in a gated community in the capital, Pretoria. Officers found a 9 mm pistol inside the home and arrested Pistorius on a murder charge.
What sparked the shooting was unclear, but police said they had received calls in the past about domestic altercations at the home of the 26-year-old athlete. A police spokeswoman, Brigadier Denise Beukes, said the incidents included "allegations of a domestic nature."
Pistorius made history in the London Games when he became the first double-amputee track athlete to compete, running on high-tech carbon-fiber blades. He didn't win a medal but did make the semifinals of the 400 meters.
Kenny Oldwage, Pistorius' lawyer, told reporters the athlete was "emotional" after his arrest, "but he is keeping up." He said he planned to seek bail for Pistorius at a preliminary hearing today.
Pistorius has had troubles in the past in his personal life, which often featured fast cars, cage fighters and women.
In February 2009, he crashed a speedboat on South Africa's Vaal River, breaking his nose, jaw and several ribs and damaging an eye socket. He required 180 stitches to his face. Witnesses said he had been drinking, and officers found alcoholic beverages in the wreckage, but did no blood tests.
In November, Pistorius was involved in an altercation over a woman with a local coal mining millionaire, South African media reported. The two men involved the South African Police Service before settling the matter.
Pistorius' father, Henke Pistorius, said Thursday, "We all pray for guidance and strength for Oscar and the lady's parents."
The sprinter's former coach, Andrea Giannini, said he hoped the shooting was "just a tragic accident."