(NEW YORK) — Police in South Africa investigating the shooting death of model Reeva Steenkamp, allegedly by boyfriend and Paralympics champion Oscar Pistorius, consider a bloody cricket bat to be a central piece of evidence, according to South Africa’s City Press newspaper.
Pistorius, 26, was arrested Thursday and charged with killing Steenkamp, 29, at his home in the South African capitol of Pretoria. His family says the shooting was an accident. He is in jail awaiting a bail hearing Tuesday.
The City Press reported Sunday that police are investigating different scenarios involving the bat. Among them is the possibility that the flat-fronted bat was used in a violent argument before the shooting.
The paper also reported that Pistorius might have first shot Steenkamp in the bedroom, and that she possibly fled to the bathroom where she was shot three more times through the door.
When Pistorius’ family arrived at the scene before paramedics, they saw him carrying Steenkamp down the stairs and performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on her, City Press reported.
Pistorius, who is nicknamed the “blade runner” because of the carbon-fiber blades on which he runs, has canceled all his upcoming racing appearances, his agent said Sunday night.
The decision was made to “allow Oscar to concentrate on the upcoming legal proceedings and to help and support all those involved as they try to come to terms with this very difficult and distressing situation,” Peet Van Zyl of In Site Athlete Management said in a statement.
Pistorius’ father was quoted overnight in the South African paper The Sunday Times saying his countrymen are destroying a national icon.
“There is something fundamentally wrong with our society,” Henke Pistorius said. “We build people up into heroes, who overcome immense challenges, only to take great glee in breaking them down.”
Family and friends rallied to Pistorius’ defense, saying they believe the Paralympic gold medalist shot the South African model by accident after he mistook her for an intruder.
“We have no doubt here that there’s no substance for the allegations,” uncle Arnold Pistorius said.
Pistorius’ best friend, Justin Divaris, told reporters that he received a call from a distraught Pistorius just before 4 a.m. Feb. 14 in which he said there had been a terrible accident, and that he shot Steenkamp.
If convicted, Pistorius could face at least 25 years in jail. A memorial service for Steenkamp will be held in Port Elizabeth Tuesday evening. Her body has been flown back for the service before being cremated, her family told local media.
Speaking with the media for the first time since her daughter’s death in a phone interview with The Sunday Times from her home in Seaview, Port Elizabeth, June Steenkamp said, “Why? Why my little girl? Why did this happen? Why did he do this? What for?”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Holly Yan, David Williams and Steve Almasy, CNN
Michael Pearson, CNN Newswire