Man charged in fatal shooting of ex-SEAL sniper Chris Kyle
Eddie Ray Routh has been charged with murder in connection with a shooting at a Texas gun range that killed former Navy SEAL and "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle and his friend.
Paul Moseley/The Fort Worth Star-Telegram/AP
GLEN ROSE, Texas
[UPDATE 2:40 pm ET: The man charged with killing former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and a second man at a Texas shooting range is reported to be a former US Marine who had been deployed to Iraq and was being helped by Kyle and others for post-traumatic stress disorder.]
A 25-year-old man was charged with murder in connection with a shooting at a central Texas gun range that killed former Navy SEAL and "American Sniper" author¬†Chris¬†Kyle¬†and his friend, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Sunday.
Sgt. Lonny Haschel said in a news release that 25-year-old Eddie Ray Routh of Lancaster was arraigned Saturday evening on two counts of capital murder.
Haschel said Erath County Sheriff's deputies responded to a call about a shooting at the Rough Creek Lodge, west of Glen Rose, at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Police found the bodies of¬†Kyle, 38, and Chad Littlefield, 35, at the shooting range. Glen Rose is about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth.
Police said Routh opened fire on¬†Kyle¬†and Littlefield around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, then fled in a Ford pickup truck. At about 8 p.m., Routh arrived at his home in Lancaster, about 17 miles southeast of Dallas. Police arrested him after a brief pursuit and took him to the Lancaster Police Department.
Officer¬†Kyle¬†Roberts at the Erath County Jail said Routh arrived there Sunday morning and is being held on a combined $3 million bond ‚ÄĒ bond for one charge of capital murder was set at $1 million and bond for two charges of murder was $1 million each. Roberts did not have information on whether Routh had a lawyer.
The motive for the shooting was unclear.
Kyle, a decorated veteran, wrote the best-selling book, "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History," detailing his 150-plus kills of insurgents from 1999 to 2009. According to promotional information from book publisher William Morrow,¬†Kyle¬†deployed to Iraq four times.
Kyle¬†helped start the nonprofit FITCO Cares, which provides at-home fitness equipment for emotionally and physically wounded veterans. Travis Cox, the organization's director and friend of¬†Kyle's, spoke with the AP on Sunday morning.
"What I know is¬†Chris¬†and a gentleman ‚ÄĒ great guy, I knew him well, Chad Littlefield ‚ÄĒ took a veteran out shooting who was struggling with PTSD to try to assist him, try to help him, try to, you know, give him a helping hand and he turned the gun on both of them, killing them," Cox said. Routh then took¬†Kyle's¬†truck and fled, he said.
Littlefield was¬†Kyle's¬†neighbor and "workout buddy," Cox said. He was a gentle, kind-hearted man who often called or emailed Cox with ideas for events or fundraisers to help veterans.
"Chris¬†was literally the type of guy if you were a veteran and needed help he'd help you," Cox said. "And from my understanding that's what happened here. I don't know how he came in contact with this gentleman, but I do know that it was not through the foundation.
"It was just two great guys with Chad and¬†Chris¬†trying to help out a veteran in need and making time out of their day to help him. And to give him a hand. And unfortunately this thing happened."
Craft International,¬†Kyle's¬†security training company, had scheduled a $2,950-per-person civilian training event at Rough Creek Lodge called the "Rough Creek Shoot Out!" for March 1-3. The price included lodging, meals and shooting instruction.¬†Kyle¬†was scheduled to teach the first class, called "precision rifle."
Kyle¬†is survived by his wife, Taya, and their children, the nonprofit's release said.