Deadliest sniper in US history shot dead

Chris Kyle, who was responsible for 160 killings during his career as US Navy Seal sniper, was shot and killed alongside another man at a gun range by a former marine.

A suspect, identified as Eddie Ray Routh, 25, was arrested later after being spotted driving Kyle’s truck.

Investigators said Routh is a former Marine, suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. The motive for the shooting was unclear.

Kyle, who wrote American Sniper about his military service from 1999 to 2009, and Chad Littlefield, 35, were discovered dead at the Rough Creek Lodge’s shooting range, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, quoting Erath County sheriff Tommy Bryant.

“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,” said Scott McEwen, who wrote the book with Kyle.

Rough Creek Lodge is located in Glen Rose, Texas, about 80km southwest of Fort Worth.

Kyle, 39, served four combat tours of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom and elsewhere, and won two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars for bravery, according to his book. He claimed to be the “most lethal sniper in US history”.

After leaving the Navy, he founded Craft International, a firm that provided combat and weapons training to military, police, corporate, and civilian clients.

In a 2012 interview with Time magazine he was asked what went through his mind when he aimed at a target.

“The first time, you’re not even sure you can do it,” he said. “But I’m not over there looking at these people as people. I’m not wondering if he has a family. I’m just trying to keep my guys safe. Every time I kill someone, he can’t plant an IED [improvised explosive device]. You don’t think twice about it.”

Kyle is also co-author of American Gun — A History of the US in Ten Firearms, which is due out in May.

He was interviewed last month about rising calls for curbing gun violence in the US. He told that he favoured arming teachers who have been screened and trained, and spoke against restrictions on gun owners.

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