Former SEAL, American Sniper author shot dead at Texas gun range, arrest made

By: AP
By: AP

GLEN ROSE, Texas (AP) -- A 25-year-old man was charged with murder in the deaths of former Navy SEAL and "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle and another man at a Texas gun range, 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.

The Lancaster Police Department referred all calls to the Texas Department of Public Safety in Garland, and a phone message about where Routh is being held was not immediately returned Sunday.

The motive for the shooting was unclear.

Kyle 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. A news release from Travis Cox, director of FITCO Cares, a nonprofit Kyle helped start, said Kyle served four tours of duty.

"Chris died doing what he filled his heart with passion - serving soldiers struggling with the fight to overcome PTSD," Cox said in the release. "He will be forever missed."

Kyle is survived by his wife, Taya, and their children, the nonprofit's release said.

Kyle was sued by former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura over a portion of the book that claims Kyle punched Ventura in a 2006 bar fight over unpatriotic remarks. Ventura says the punch never happened and that the claim by Kyle defamed him.

Kyle had asked that Ventura's claims of invasion of privacy and "unjust enrichment" be dismissed, saying there was no legal basis for them. But a federal judge said the lawsuit should proceed. Both sides were told to be ready for trial by Aug. 1.


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