Decorated Iraqi war veteran, Chris Kyle, former Navy SEAL and author of the book American Sniper, was shot and killed this Saturday at a recreational gun range in Texas. Kyle, along with his friend and fellow veteran, Chad Littlefield, were found dead at Rough Creek Lodge, a shooting range in Erath County.
Reuters U.S. soldiers carry an Iraqi national flag (R) and an U.S. flag during a ceremony to retire the flags, marking the withdrawl of US Troops.
The suspected assailant, Eddie Ray Routh, a former Marine reportedly suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, was arrested after a brief car chase.
According to the Associated Press report, Kyle and Littlefield had taken Routh to the gun range for some recreational shooting.
Ironically, Kyle helped establish "The Hero's Project" for the nonprofit organization, FITCO Cares, providing at-home fitness equipment for emotionally and physically wounded veterans. Routh's motives for the murders are yet to be established by investigating authorities.
According to the web site of Craft International, a security and protection training company that Kyle created, Chris served four combat tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom and elsewhere. He was awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor, two Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medals, and one Navy and Marine Corps commendation.
However, he is most notorious for writing American Sniper: the Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, in which he gives an account of the stories behind his record 160 confirmed kills in the line of duty.
He was so feared by the Iraqis that he was nicknamed al-Shaitan, or "The Devil," of ramadi and a $20,000, which was later raised to $80,000, bounty was placed on his head. Kyle showed some levity by joking about this fact when he guested on Conan O'Briens show, saying that he "was worried about coming home because he thought his wife would turn him in."
In 2012, Kyle appeared in the reality TV show, Stars Earn Stripes, which teamed up celebrities with law enforcement or special operations professionals to compete in various challenges based on actual U.S. military training exercises. Kyle competed along with Dean Cain and played for the Wounded Warrior Project.