JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Oscar Pistorius has been spending time with people who were close to the girlfriend he shot and killed on Valentine's Day, the Olympian's family said Thursday in an indication that Pistorius is becoming more active while awaiting trial on a murder charge.
The double-amputee athlete has been staying at the Pretoria home of his uncle, Arnold, since he was released on bail in late February, and he has largely remained out of public view amid intense international interest in his case.
The family of Pistorius has stated that the runner was traumatized and in mourning over what he said was the mistaken shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but relatives and associates have increasingly signaled that Pistorius is emerging from what a spokeswoman described as isolation.
"Over the past few weeks, Oscar has found comfort in spending time and sharing memories with many of those whom she loved, in surroundings where shared memories were created," the family said in a statement Thursday.
It did not identify the people with whom 26-year-old Pistorius had met, nor the locations.
Anneliese Burgess, a spokeswoman for the Pistorius family, said the athlete had been "very isolated" but had begun a process of "interacting with people."
Pistorius said the killing of Steenkamp was an accident, and that he thought he was firing at an intruder through a bathroom door at his home. Prosecutors say he shot her after the couple had an argument.
The runner's agent, Peet van Zyl, has said Pistorius was running on his blades again and his return to regular training was imminent. Last week, a grainy cellphone photo of what appears to be Pistorius on the track at the University of Pretoria was published on the front page of the Afrikaans-language Beeld newspaper in South Africa.
The statement Thursday said the family was "deeply disturbed" by some South African press reports as well as commentary on social media platforms that had shown "disregard" for the pain suffered by the family and friends of Steenkamp.
"There is not a moment in the day that Oscar does not mourn for his girlfriend and Reeva's family, and all those who were close to her are in his thoughts constantly," the statement said.
Pistorius is scheduled to be back in court on June 4. He could face a life sentence if found guilty of murder.