Chris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL and author of the best-selling book American Sniper, and a second person were shot and killed Saturday at a gun range in Erath County, U.S. Marshals said.
Late Saturday, Lancaster police arrested a man who they say matched the description of a man wanted in connection with the slayings. After a brief chase, officers arrested 25-year-old Eddie Ray Routh, according to Lancaster police spokesperson Kelly Hooten.
Reporting on the shootings, the Stephenville Empire-Tribune said Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant would not discuss the victims. But the newspaper said that a source working at Rough Creek Lodge, which has a gun range at which the newspaper reported the slayings occurred, confirmed that one of the victims was Kyle.
WFAA-TV (Channel 8) reported that Kyle was shot point-blank while helping another soldier who is recovering from post traumatic stress syndrome.
Erath County officials had issued an alert for authorities to be on the lookout for the gunman, who was believed to be armed and dangerous and driving a black Ford F-350 truck with large tires and rims.
The suspect was believed to be highly trained with military experience. The shooting location is 53 miles southwest of Fort Worth, according to WFAA.
Kyle grew up in Texas and spent much of his time riding horses and participating on the school rodeo team. His life quickly changed when he decided to go into the military and became a Navy SEAL. He deployed four times to Iraq. Kyle held the record for number of kills by an American sniper. The Pentagon has confirmed more than 150 of his kills. The previous record was 109. For his service, Kyle was awarded two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars with Valor. His autobiography, American Sniper, was released last year.
“When I grew up, I only had two dreams,” he told The News in January 2012. “One was to be a cowboy and another was to be in the military. I grew up extremely patriotic and riding horses. I went to college and was working at a ranch up there.
Sun up, sun down, I was in a saddle. By the time I was 24, I decided it was time to go into the military and try it out. It wasn’t exactly the SEALs I was looking for at the time. I just wanted to go into the military and be the best.”
Kyle said he wrote his book because, “I wanted to be able to let people know about the sacrifices that not only people in the service make, but what their families go through. I knew this would give me a voice so I could speak about the guys I know who were killed. I wanted to get their story out and I wanted to raise awareness for veterans.”
“It is so hard becoming a civilian. When you are in the military, everything you do is for the greater good. And as a civilian, everything you do is for your own good.
When you’re in the military, you are facing life and death every day. And then you come home and hear people who are unhappy about the little things. And you think, are you kidding me? Two weeks ago, I was shot. And this is your problem. …They train us how to become warriors, but then they don’t teach us and train us how to become businessmen.”