Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in American military history and author of the New York Times bestselling book, "American Sniper," and a neighbor were shot Saturday while allegedly helping a soldier deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.
"It just comes as a shock and it's staggering to think that after all Chris has been through, that this is how he meets his end, because there are so many ways he could have been killed" in Iraq, said Scott McEwen, who wrote the book with Kyle, according to Reuters.
Kyle, who was active with groups that helped military veterans recover from PTSD, and another man were killed at point-blank range by a former Marine who is said to suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome at the Rough Creek Lodge's shooting range near the town of Glen Rose, about 53 miles southwest of Fort Worth, according to WWFA-TV in Dallas. The second victim was not identified.
In a post titled, "Chris Kyle, Another Brother Lost," Jack Murphy at the Special Operations Forces Situation Report (SOFREP) explains Kyle's work with PTSD: “Chris had been volunteering his time to help Marine Corps veterans suffering from PTSD and mentoring them. Part of this process involved taking these veterans to the range."
It was at the range "where one of them snapped and killed Chris and his neighbor for reasons that remain unknown at this time. The perpetrator then stole Chris’ vehicle in an attempt to escape but we have received word that the police have arrested him.”
The suspect, identified as Eddie Routh, 25, was arrested in Lancaster, Texas, after a brief police chase, a Lancaster Police Department dispatcher told ABC News.
Police confirm that Routh was driving Kyle's truck at the time of his arrest and was held awaiting transfer to Texas Rangers.
The suspect was believed to be highly trained with military experience.
screenshot via video
Chris Kyle, the former U.S. Navy SEAL sniper, was shot and killed with another man at a gun range.
The Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History
Kyle served during the height of the American involvement in Iraq including the March on Baghdad, and the battles of Fallujah, Ramadi and Sadr City. While serving in Iraq, insurgents placed a bounty on Kyle's head because of his lethal accuracy as a sniper, WFAA news reports.
He was awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, ABC News writes.
"I don't care about the medals," Kyle told the Star-Telegram in a 2012 interview. "I didn't do it for the money or the awards. I did it because I felt like it was something that needed to be done and it was honorable. I loved the guys."
From 1999 to 2009, Kyle recorded more than 150 sniper kills, the most in U.S. military history.
After leaving combat duty, Kyle wrote the “Naval Special Warfare Sniper Doctrine,” which is the first Navy SEAL sniper manual.
He recounted his experiences in “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History,” published in 2012. Kyle, 39, was born in Odessa, Texas and learned to shoot from his father using a rifle at the age of 8, according to his book.
How did he wind up as a Navy SEAL? “I actually grew up wanting to be in the military and I wanted to be in the Marines. When I went down to sign up, they had gone to lunch," Kyle told Imperial Beach Eagle & Times in January 2012. "The Army recruiter told me I couldn’t go into the Special Forces right away, but I can be a Ranger. I didn’t want to be outside looking in. As I left, a Navy recruiter pulled me in and said, ‘You can be a SEAL right now. Go to Boot Camp and then straight to BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL).’ I didn’t know anything about the SEALs. I wanted to go do that.”
Kyle leaves behind his wife Taya and their two children, who live in the Dallas area.