April 6, 2012: Former Navy SEAL and author of the book “American Sniper” poses in Midlothian, Texas. (AP)
STEPHENVILLE, TX (MorichesDaily) — A former Navy SEAL who wrote “American Sniper,” a best-selling book about his lethal career as a marksman in Iraq, was shot to death with another man at a gun range near Stephenville, Texas, on Saturday.
Sgt. Lonny Haschel with Texas Department of Public Safety said in a news release Sunday that 25-year-old Eddie Ray Routh of Lancaster was arraigned Saturday on two counts of capital murder.
Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Lonny Haschel told reporters early Sunday morning that Chris Kyle, 38, and Chad Littlefield, 35, were shot and killed at a shooting range at Rough Creek Resort and Lodge in Glen Rose late Saturday afternoon.
The gunman, identified as Eddie Ray Routh of Lancaster, Texas, was arrested after a brief pursuit, Trooper Haschel said.
“The suspected gunman was identified as Eddie Ray Routh, of Lancaster,” Haschel said. “Routh is believed to have shot the victims around 3:30 p.m. He left the range then in a Ford pickup truck. He traveled back to his residence in Lancaster.”
Haschel said Routh was taken into custody after a brief police pursuit. Lancaster police said Routh was arrested along Interstate 35E near Camp Wisdom Road in Lancaster.
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.
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 go ahead. Both sides were told to be ready for trial by Aug. 1.
He was credited with 160 confirmed kills, including one in 2008 in which he said he fired from 2,100 yards away — 1.2 miles.
The Star-Telegram described him as “America’s deadliest sniper.”
Kyle was awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation, according to Craft International, the company he founded after leaving the military.
According to his biography on the company’s website, Iraqi insurgents dubbed Kyle “al-Shaitan” (“the devil”) and placed a bounty on his head.
Craft International offers training to military and law enforcement.
Kyle is survived by his wife and two children.