ATLANTA—U.S. Olympic gymnast Dominique Miller, 15, considered a favorite to bring home the gold in Atlanta, achieved her lifelong dream yesterday, killing her father/coach with a 12-gauge shotgun.
“I can’t believe I’ve actually done it,” said an exuberant, beaming Miller, holding several giant bouquets of flowers given to her by fans. “This is really a lifelong dream come true—it’s the greatest high a young athlete could ever experience.”
Miller, who had been training with her father, Karl Miller, for the Olympics since age three, realized the longtime dream shortly after finishing second in yesterday’s Olympic qualifying round, shooting him in the chest before hundreds of onlookers.
Miller said she had a good feeling about the shot as soon as it left the shotgun. “I had his heart squarely lined up in the gun sight, and I got a real clean pull on the trigger,” she said. “The moment that blast went off and the gun kicked back, I knew I’d landed it perfect.”
One gymnastics judge who happened to witness the event also gave Miller high marks. “Dominique’s form was perfect—the bullet entered the body cleanly and stuck squarely in the middle of the chest cavity, right between the heart and the sternum,” said judge Marcy Conners of Canada. “That’s right where you want it.”
Added Conners: “I would give this murder a 10.”
For Miller, the slaying represented the culmination of years of hard work. “I’ve been practicing this routine for years,” Miller said. “Every morning at 6, I’d get up early and do an exact run-through, hiding the gun under my bed, sneaking it over to the arena under my coat, and pulling it out from under the table in the trainer’s room.”
Miller almost realized her dream at the ‘92 Barcelona Olympics, but a last-minute trigger-finger injury dashed her hopes. “I sprained it pretty bad the morning I was going to do it,” Miller said. “It was devastating—I thought I’d never be able to come back; I thought I’d be too old to try again in ’96. But I did it.”
Miller was arrested soon after yesterday’s slaying, charged with second-degree homicide. If found guilty, she could face 30 years in federal prison.
“I’m so excited, I’m not even thinking about prison right now,” said a detained but triumphant Miller, raising her handcuffed hands and waving to fans. “Right now I just want to enjoy this moment, enjoy what I’ve achieved. Maybe tomorrow I’ll think about the homicide charges, but right now, this is a time for celebration.”
When asked by one reporter what she will do next, now that she has killed her father, the gymnast replied: “I’m going to the Andrew B. Stevens Federal Courthouse Building!”
In addition to receiving letters from thousands of fans, Miller has received congratulatory messages from such celebrities as Brooke Shields, Macaulay Culkin and tennis stars Jennifer Capriati and Mary Pierce.
“Congratulations, Dominique!” read a note from Capriati. “I’m so proud of you for what you’ve accomplished. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of doing but never got the courage to do. You’re a real champion. P.S.—Will you kill my dad for me?”
Funeral services for Karl Miller are 3 p.m. today at First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. Second-round Olympic gymnastics events are scheduled for 4 p.m.