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'Most lethal sniper in US history': Chris Kyle shot dead on Texas gun range

Former Navy SEAL had a bounty put on his head by Iraqi insurgents, who dubbed him 'The Devil of Ramadi'

A famous American marksman and author was shot dead yesterday on a Texas rifle range.

Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL who claimed to have been the most prolific sniper in American history, had a bounty put on his head by insurgents in Iraq, who dubbed him "The Devil of Ramadi."

He was at Rough Creek Lodge's shooting range near Forth Worth, Texas, with another man.

Both were fatally shot.

Witnesses said a gunman opened fire on the men at around 3:30 yesterday afternoon before fleeing in a pick-up truck belonging to one of the victims, according to a local newspaper.

The newspaper said a 25-year-old man was later taken into custody nearby and that charges were expected. The motive for the shooting is unclear.

Kyle, 38, wrote the best-selling book, "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History," about the 150-plus insurgents he killed between 1999 and 2009.

He was being sued for defamation by Jesse Ventura, former Governor of Minnesota, over the book's claim that Kyle punched Ventura in a 2006 bar fight over unpatriotic remarks.

Ventura said the punch never happened.

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.

The suit was set to begin in August.

The married father of two, from Odessa, Texas, was president of Craft International, providing sniper and security training for the US military.

He saw four tours of Iraq, during which he was shot twice. He received three Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars with Valor.