Man charged with shooting top US Navy sniper at gun range

Ex-soldier suspected of the murder of the Navy Seal, author of American Sniper, and another man

New York

A man has been charged with the murder of a former sniper and US Navy Seal who was shot dead at point-blank range in Texas.

Chris Kyle, who documented his career overseas in his best-selling autobiographical book American Sniper and became notorious for notching up the highest number of killings by a sniper in US military history, was one of two men shot dead at a gun range in Erath County on Saturday.

Another ex-soldier, identified as 25-year-old Eddie Ray Routh, was charged with two counts of murder today. The suspect was said by local media to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). No reason for the shootings has been revealed.

Authorities responded to the shooting at around 5:30pm local time on Saturday. According to the official account, Mr Routh opened fire on Mr Kyle and Mr Littlefield at around 3:30pm before fleeing in a Ford pick-up truck.

He was later apprehended at his home in Lancaster, around 17 miles south-east of Dallas.

Mr Kyle undertook four tours of duty and won two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars for bravery during his career. While on duty between 1999 and 2009, he killed 160 insurgents, prompting Iraqi insurgents to nickname him “the Devil” and reportedly place a $20,000 bounty on his head.

In an interview with the BBC last year, Mr Kyle said he didn’t feel any remorse for his actions.

“It is a weird feeling. Seeing an actual dead body ... knowing that you’re the one that caused it now to no longer move,” he admitted.

He added: “Every person I killed I strongly believe that they were bad. When I do go face God there is going to be lots of things I will have to account for but killing any of those people is not one of them.”

After retiring from the Navy, he founded Craft International, which provided training to military and law enforcement clients, and helped found Fitco Cares, a foundation set up to provide help for veterans suffering from PTSD.

Two weeks ago, in an interview with the Guns.com website, Mr Kyle spoke against the push for greater firearms control in the wake of the Newtown school massacre in December.

“When people aren’t afraid because they know everyone – the populace – is unarmed, what’s going to deter them from attacking someone, robbing or committing a crime?” he said.

Mr Kyle is listed as the co-author of American Gun, A History of the US in Ten Firearms, which is due to be released in May.

In it, Mr Kyle recounts his experiences of firing guns from various stages in US history, “making the sweeping argument that the American story has been tied to and shaped by the gun”, according to the Amazon.com description.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific