STEPHENVILLE, Texas -- A 25-year-old Iraq war veteran charged with killing former Navy SEAL and "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle and his friend turned a gun onto the pair while they were at a Texas shooting range, authorities said yesterday.
Eddie Ray Routh of Lancaster was arraigned early yesterday in the deaths of Kyle, 38, and Chad Littlefield, 35, at the shooting range at Rough Creek Lodge, 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth. He was being held on $3 million bond on one charge of capital murder and two of murder.
Capt. Jason Upshaw of the Erath County Sheriff's Office said Routh used a semiautomatic handgun, which authorities found later at his home. Ballistics tests weren't complete, Upshaw said, but authorities believe it was the gun used in the shootings. He declined to give any more details about the gun.
Routh has not said anything indicating what his motive may have been, Upshaw said. Sheriff Tommy Bryant said Routh was unemployed and "may have been suffering from some type of mental illness from being in the military himself."
Bryant didn't know whether Routh was on any medication or had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The U.S. military confirmed that Routh was a corporal in the Marines, serving in active duty from 2006 to 2010. He was deployed to Iraq in 2007 and Haiti in 2010. His current duty status is listed as reserve.
Kyle, a decorated veteran, wrote the best-seller "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History," detailing his 150-plus kills of insurgents from 1999 to 2009. He said in his book that Iraqi insurgents had put a bounty on his head. Promotional information from book publisher William Morrow said Kyle was deployed to Iraq four times.
Bryant said Kyle, Littlefield and Routh went to the shooting range around 3:15 p.m. Saturday. A hunting guide at Rough Creek Lodge came across the bodies of Kyle and Littlefield around 5 p.m. and called 911.
After the shootings, Routh left the range in Kyle's pickup truck, Bryant said, going first to his sister's home in Midlothian, 25 miles southwest of Dallas, where he told her and her husband what he had done. Routh left, Bryant said, and the couple called police.
Routh arrived at his home in Lancaster, about 17 miles southeast of Dallas, about 8 p.m. Police arrested him after a brief pursuit.