Breaking news reports confirm that Chris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL and infamous Iraqi sniper, was shot and killed at a Texas gun range on Saturday, Feb. 2. According to several reports, 38-year-old Kyle was shot at point-blank range "while helping another soldier who was recovering from post traumatic stress syndrome." Another victim, 35-year-old Chad Littlefield, was also shot to death at the scene. After a brief police pursuit, gunman suspect Eddie Ray Routh was arrested and arraigned late Saturday on two counts of capital murder.
Few details surrounding the shootings have yet to be released... but it's confirmed that two war veterans fell victim to alleged shooter, 25-year-old Routh in Glen Rose, TX. Texas Department of Public Safetl Sgt. Sgt. Lonny Haschel released in a public statement on Sunday (Feb. 3) that Routh had been arrested and charged with murder. Haschel stated that Erath County deputies responded to a shooting at the Rough Creek Lodge at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Upon their arrival, they found the lifeless bodies of Kyle and Littlefield.
Chris Kyle was a former United States Navy SEAL and is currently known as the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. Although statistics have not been released by the Pentagon, Kyle executed a 160 confirmed kills (out of 255 claimed kills) during his four deployments in Iraq from 1999-2009. According to the Stephenville Empire Tribune, several insurgents referred to Kyle as "The Devil of Ramadi" during one of his deployments and placed a $20,000 bounty on his head (later increased to $80,000). In addition to working with the SEALs, Kyle also allegedly served with units in the Army and Marines.
Nowadays, Kyle remained a strong advocate of war veteran rights. He went on to write a renowned and controversial autobiography ("American Sniper") and helped establish the nonprofit Fitco Cares Foundation (which enables veterans currently battling post-traumatic stress syndrome to gain access to exercise equipment). He also founded Craft International, a military training company.
"He was a man of incredible character, he led by example," close friend Jason Kos told CNN. "He always stopped to take time to talk to whoever was around him. Just incredibly humble, very funny as well."
Police believe that Routh shot and killed Kyle and Littlefield at around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday before fleeing the scene in Kyle's Ford F-150 trucks. He utlimately crashed into a police crusier and was found and arrested at about 8 p.m. in Lancaster. The motive for the shootings remains unclear.
Thoughts and condolences go out to Kyle's family, friends, and cohorts during this time of tragedy.