GLEN ROSE, Texas A former U.S. Navy SEAL who gained recognition during the Iraq War was one of two people fatally shot southwest of Fort Worth on Saturday, KHOU 11 News has learned.
Sources close to the investigation identified the former SEAL as Chris Kyle, 39, author of the New York Times bestselling book, American Sniper.
Kyle was shot point-blank while helping another soldier who was recovering from post traumatic stress syndrome, officials said. Officials on Sunday morning identified the second shooting victim as 35-year-old Chad Littlefield, a resident of Midlothian.
The murders happened at a shooting range near the town of Glen Rose, about 53 miles southwest of Fort Worth.
Saturday night the Erath County Sheriff s Officeissued an alert for the arrest of the suspect, identified as Eddie Routh, 25. Officials warned Routh was traveling in a Ford F-150 pickup with large tires and rims. They said he was believed to be highly trained with military experience.
Investigators believe Routh, a former Marine, turned his weapon on Kyle and the second victim before fleeing the scene. They traced him to his home in Lancaster, south of Dallas.
They had like four shotguns on him, I believe, said neighbor Carolyn Greathouse. Next thing I know, time passes, he starts up the truck, then all of a sudden he rushes down the road and they all take off after him.
Routh, 25, was captured at 9 p.m. after a short pursuit. He was transferred to Erath County early Sunday morning to face murder charges.
Since retiring as a Navy SEAL, Kyle had been actively helping other military veterans recover from PTSD.
My heart is breaking, said Travis Cox, director of FITCO Cares Foundation, in a statement early Sunday morning. Kyle helped found the organization to help treat veterans who suffer from PTSD.
Our foundation, FITCO Cares, this country and most importantly, his wife Taya and their children, lost a dedicated father and husband, a lifelong patriot and an American hero, Cox continued.
He hailed Kyle as a hero and said Chris died doing what he filled his heart with passion serving soldiers struggling with the fight to overcome PTSD.
American Sniper, which details Kyle s 150-plus kills of insurgents from 1999 to 2009, was published in 2012. The book s cover referred to Kyle as the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. The sniper served in every major battle in Operation Iraqi Freedom and became so well known that the insurgents even had a bounty on his head. He served four tours of duty in Iraq and was wounded twice by gunfire.
Kyle was born in Odessa and was using a rifle at the age of eight, according to his book. He moved to North Texas after retiring from the Navy in 2009 and was president of Craft International, which provides training to military and law enforcement.
Recently, he also appeared as an operative on the NBC reality show Stars Earn Stripes, in which celebrities are challenged to execute complicated missions inspired by real military exercises.
He was married and has two children.
KHOU reporter Jeff McShan, WFAA reporters Carla Wade in Erath County and Rebecca Lopez; and producers Tina Foster and Jason Trahan contributed to this report.