In a strange and tragic set of events, Ex-Navy Seal, and best selling author, Chris Kyle, was killed alongside his good friend by a mentally unstable veteran who Kyle was trying to help overcome Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Early reports indicate that Kyle and his good friend Chad Littlefield were shot by Eddie Ray Routh of Lancaster, Texas while at a shooting range. Their bodies were discovered by a hunting guide a couple of hours after the shootings occurred. According to police, after shooting both men, Routh allegedly left the shooting range and drove to his family’s home where he told them what he’d done. They called the police.
This tragedy hits close to home for us because Dan had the opportunity to meet and spend time with Kyle last year at a veteran’s fundraiser in Fort Worth. He described Kyle as an unassuming patriot who seemed to enjoy kicking back with his brothers in arms. That event, which was held at a Fort Worth shooting range, was attended by several celebrities including Glen Beck and Marcus Latrell, another famous Navy SEAL. But it was Kyle who made the biggest impression on Dan because he came across as just ‘one of the guys’ despite his fame and history.
After leaving the Navy in 2009, Kyle authored a best selling book, “America Sniper,” which chronicled his experiences as a SEAL sniper in Iraq. He had been proclaimed by some as “America’s deadliest sniper” after amassing over 150 confirmed kills, and was so effective against Iraqi insurgents that they placed a bounty on his head. Since leaving the Navy, Kyle has spent a lot of time working with a non-profit organization that he helped establish to provide in-home fitness equipment for wounded veterans.
There’s been a lot of discussion in the country lately about mental illness and guns, and this tragic story is sure to add fire to the overall debate on gun control. But none of that will change the fact that Chris Kyle served his country with distinction. During his four combat tours in Iraq, he earned two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars (with Valor). Since returning home, besides his own non-profit, he’s also spent a lot of time advocating for and raising money in support of various veteran organizations. He leaves behind a wife and two children.