America's Top Sniper 'Shot Dead By PTSD Veteran'

America's Top Sniper 'Shot Dead By PTSD Veteran'

America's 'most lethal sniper' was killed on a shooting range by a former soldier he was trying to help recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, police have said.

Chris Kyle, a former Navy Seal, was shot dead at the site in Texas - where he had taken the Iraq war veteran and another friend to try to aid his recovery.

The man is alleged to have turned his gun on both Mr Kyle, 38, and his friend, Chad Littlefield, 35, shooting them both dead.

Police have charged 25-year-old Eddie Ray Routh with two counts of murder and set his bail at \$3m (£1.9m).

Capt Jason Upshaw, from Erath County Sheriff's Office said a semi-automatic handgun was found at Routh's home.

He said that after the shootings, Routh drove to his sister's home in Midlothian and told his sister and brother-in-law what he had done. After he left, his relatives called the police.

Capt Upshaw said Routh had not revealed what his motive was.

Mr Kyle, a decorated veteran, wrote the best-selling book called "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History," which was about his 160 kills of insurgents from 1999 to 2009.

According to promotional information from book publisher William Morrow, Mr Kyle was deployed to Iraq four times.

He had started a not-for-profit company called Fitco Cares, which provided at-home fitness equipment for emotionally and physically wounded veterans.

After the shooting, Travis Cox, the organisation's director and friend of Kyle's, told Associated Press: "What I know is Chris and a gentleman — great guy, I knew him well, Chad Littlefield — took a veteran out shooting who was struggling with PTSD to try to assist him, try to help him, try to, you know, give him a helping hand and he turned the gun on both of them, killing them."

Mr Cox added: "Chris was literally the type of guy (that), if you were a veteran and needed help, he'd help you.

"And from my understanding that's what happened here. I don't know how he came in contact with this gentleman, but I do know that it was not through the foundation.

"It was just two great guys with Chad and Chris trying to help out a veteran in need and making time out of their day to help him. And to give him a hand. And unfortunately this thing happened."

Mr Cox said the shooter then took Mr Kyle's truck and fled.

Sgt Lonny Haschel said Erath County Sheriff's deputies responded to a call about a shooting at the Rough Creek Lodge, west of Glen Rose, at around 5.30pm on Saturday.

He said police found the bodies of Mr Kyle, who was married with children, and Mr Littlefield at the shooting range, but that Mr Routh had fled to his home in Lancaster, around 17 miles from Dallas.