U.S. Navy SEAL team member Chris Kyle was fatally shot on Saturday around 3:30 p.m. at a North Texas shooting range. The 38-year-old former Navy SEAL was known as the “Military’s deadliest sniper” according to a Star-Telegram report on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013.
“Chris Kyle, a retired Navy SEAL and the U.S. military's most lethal sniper, was fatally shot Saturday along with another man on the gun range of Rough Creek Lodge, a posh resort just west of Glen Rose, Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant said.”
The gun range of Rough Creek Lodge is located about 77 miles southwest of Fort Worth.
As of early Sunday morning, some witnesses are reporting that Chris Kyle and a neighbor had taken 25-year-old Eddie Ray Routh on an outing to assist him with his post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. For unknown reasons, suspect Routh allegedly turned on Chris Kyle and the neighbor and shot them in the back around 3:30 p.m.
After shooting the former SEAL team member and his neighbor, the 25-year-old fled in a pickup that belonged to either Chris Kyle or the neighbor. Eddie Ray Routh drove then more than 70 miles to Lancaster which is southeast of Dallas.
According to Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant, the “suspect, identified as Eddie Ray Routh, 25, was pursued to a house in Lancaster by officers, including a local SWAT team. Routh tried to flee in a vehicle but was stopped about 9 p.m. after spikes were laid across a road.”
Eddie Ray Routh is in custody in Lancaster. There is no known motive as to why Routh might have shot the former SEAL team member and his neighbor.
For many familiar with former SEAL team members and especially Chris Kyle, the 38-year-old was known for having “set the record for confirmed sniper kills at 150 and received multiple valor awards, including five Bronze Stars with Valor and two Silver Stars, according to US military records.”
In addition to his outstanding Navy SEAL career, Chris Kyle is also the author of the best-selling book "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History," in which the former Navy SEAL detailed his 150-plus kills of insurgents from 1999 to 2009.
Only a year ago, the Jan. 3, 2012, New York Post article “Meet the big shot --- SEAL is America’s deadliest sniper” reported that Chris Kyle grew up as the son of a Sunday-school teacher and a church deacon in north-central Texas “dipping tobacco, riding horses and hunting deer, turkey and quail — a cowboy at heart.” Chris got his first gun at the age of eight, a bolt-action 30-06 rifle.
Chris Kyle served four tours of duty in Iraq, was shot twice, and was caught up in six separate IED explosions. Assigned to SEAL Team 3, Sniper Element Charlie platoon within the Naval Special Warfare Command, and with over four tours of duty, Kyle served in every major battle of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In 2009, after having served for 10 years, Chris Kyle left the U.S. Navy in order to save his marriage. Chris Kyle moved with his wife Taya and two children to Mid-Texas where he ran Craft International, a company which provides military, law enforcement, and civilian training, as well as private security. The British MailOnline featured the famous Navy SEAL in the article “255 confirmed kills: Meet Navy SEAL Chris Kyle... the deadliest sniper in US history.”
In addition to being a husband and a father, Chris Kyle also paired with FITCO Cares Foundation, a non-profit organization which created the Heroes Project to provide free in-home fitness equipment, individualized programs, personal training, and life-coaching to in-need veterans with disabilities, Gold Star families, or those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“'It was my duty to shoot the enemy, and I don’t regret it. My regrets are for the people I couldn’t save: Marines, soldiers, buddies. I’m not naive, and I don’t romanticize war. The worst moments of my life have come as a SEAL. But I can stand before God with a clear conscience about doing my job,' he told Texas Monthly.”