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Man Charged In Death Of 'American Sniper' Author

A 25-year-old man has been charged with killing the author of American Sniper and another person at a Texas gun range.

Former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle wrote American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, a best-seller that detailed his more than 150 kills of insurgents between 1999 and 2009. He also set up FITCO Cares, a nonprofit that helps soldiers deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The bodies of Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield were found at the Rough Creek Lodge, west of Glen Rose, about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Police say the two men and Eddie Ray Routh, the alleged shooter, were at the shooting range on Saturday when Routh shot them.

Update at 3:31 p.m. ET. Alleged Shooter Was A Veteran

The Associated Press is quoting the U.S. military as saying Eddie Ray Routh, the man who allegedly shot and killed Kyle and his friend, was a corporal in the Marines from June 2006 to January 2010.

"He was deployed to Iraq in 2007 and Haiti in 2010. His current duty status is listed as reserve," the AP reported.

Routh is being held on $3 million bond.

Update at 1:13 p.m. ET. Comments In Interview:

Out friends at KERA are also looking at Kyle's career, and they've pulled out an excerpt from an interview he did with the station:

"Growing up, the only time you ever shot anything was when you were hunting, and you were gonna eat it. So it was hard trying to wrap my mind around 'Well, how can I shoot another human being?' And even the first time I had to do it, they're yelling at me. 'You have to do it! Take it! Take it!' And it's still trying to get over the fact that, well, I'm fixin' to have to kill someone.

"And then you do it, and you have to think of it differently. You're not killing a person, you're killing an enemy that if you don't do it, they're gonna kill your guys. ... You have to de-humanize it, so you don't go crazy."

As we said earlier, you can listen to that full interview here.

Update at 12:51 p.m. ET. More Details:

The New York Times has more details on the shooting that led to the death of the author of American Sniper and another man. Here's what the Times report says:

"Since retiring from the Navy SEALS, Chris Kyle, who was known as America's deadliest sniper, would occasionally take fellow veterans shooting as a kind of therapy to salve battlefield scars.

"Mr. Kyle, author of the best selling book 'American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History,' was with a struggling former soldier on just such an outing on Saturday, hoping a day at a shooting range would bring some relief, said a friend, Travis Cox.

"But Texas authorities said Sunday that for unknown reasons, the man turned on Mr. Kyle and a second man, Chad Littlefield, shooting and killing both before fleeing."

Our original post:

Here's more from the Texas Empire Tribune, which first reported on the story:

"Chris Kyle, 38, and another man were found dead at Rough Creek's shooting range between 3:30 and 4 p.m. Saturday, according to Sheriff Tommy Bryant.

"Eddie Ray Routh, an Iraqi war veteran, was arrested hours later after a manhunt led authorities to Lancaster where Routh was taken into custody just before 9 p.m. Saturday."

The three men were at the shooting range Saturday when Routh "shot them at point-blank range," the newspaper reported. Police say Routh then fled in Kyle's truck.

The Associated Press reported that Routh of Lancaster, Texas, was arraigned Saturday on two counts of capital murder.

Here's more background on Kyle from the newspaper:

"Kyle was a former Navy SEAL who served four tours of duty in Iraq, where he was given the nickname 'The Devil of Ramadi' by insurgents.

"In 2008, he made his longest successful shot after he spotted an insurgent with a rocket launcher near a U.S. Army convoy at a range of 2,100 yards."

A statement from Travis Cox, director of the nonprofit FITCO, called Kyle a hero. Here's more from the release:

"Chris Kyle was a hero for his courageous efforts protecting our country as a U.S. Navy SEAL during four tours of combat. Moreover, he was a hero for his efforts stateside when he helped develop the FITCO Cares Foundation. What began as a plea for help from Chris looking for in-home fitness equipment for his brothers- and sisters-in-arms struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) became an organization that will carry that torch proudly in his honor.

"Chris died doing what he filled his heart with passion — serving soldiers struggling with the fight to overcome PTSD. His service, life and premature death will never be in vain. May God watch over his family and all those who considered Chris a true friend."

Kyle is survived by his wife, Taya, and their children, the statement added.

Kyle was interviewed about his book by Kansas City Public Media last year. That interview can be heard here. You can also listen to his interview, also last year, with member station KERA here.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.
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