A former Navy SEAL and the author of “American Sniper,” Chris Kyle, was shot and killed along with another man Saturday at a Texas gun range, a county sheriff has told the Texas news media.
The suspect, identified as Eddie Routh, 25, was arrested in Lancaster, Texas, after a brief police chase, a Lancaster Police Department dispatcher told ABC News.
The link between Routh and the two victims wasn’t immediately clear, Haschel said. The Dallas Morning News reported that Routh was 25 years old and had military training. The motive for the shooting was unclear.
The sheriff of Erath County, Tommy Bryant, said Mr. Kyle, 38, and a second man were found dead at Rough Creek Lodge’s shooting range west of Glen Rose. Glen Rose is about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth.
Investigators did not immediately release the name of the second victim, according to the newspapers.
Witnesses told sheriff’s investigators that a gunman opened fire on the men around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, then fled in a pickup truck belonging to one of the victims.
The newspapers said a 25-year-old man was later taken into custody in Lancaster, southeast of Dallas, and that charges were expected, reports the NY Times.
“It just comes as a shock and it’s staggering to think that after all Chris has been through, that this is how he meets his end, because there are so many ways he could have been killed” in Iraq, said Scott McEwen, who wrote the book with Kyle.
Travis Cox, the director of FITCO Cares, the non-profit foundation Kyle established, said Kyle’s wife Taya and their children “lost a dedicated father and husband” and the country has lost a “lifelong patriot and an American hero.”
“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,” Cox said in a statement.
Kyle, a Texas native who grew up hunting, served four tours in Iraq with Navy SEAL Team 3. His shooting during battles in Ramadi and Fallujah became legendary, and insurgents nicknamed him the “Devil of Ramadi” and put a bounty on his head.
He was credited with 160 confirmed kills, including one in 2008 in which he said he fired from 2,100 yards away – 1.2 miles.
After leaving the Navy, Kyle founded Craft International, a firm that provided combat and weapons training to military, police, corporate and civilian clients.
Kyle is the co-author of another book coming out in May under the title “American Gun – A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms.”
For the book he fired 10 weapons – such as the Spencer repeating rifle from the Civil War, the Colt .45 used in the Old West and the Thompson sub-machine gun popular with law enforcement and gangsters in the 1920s – and discussed their parts in U.S. history.
“American Sniper,” which was published last year in 2012, became a New York Times best seller.
Kyle was married with two children.