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?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones