DALLAS (CBSDFW) – Today marks the eighth anniversary of the death of former Navy Seal Chris Kyle.
Kyle developed a deadly reputation as a sniper during his five combat tours in Iraq. He served four tours in Iraq and made more than 300 kills as a sniper for SEAL Team 3, according to his own count. He also earned two Silver Stars for valor.
Kyle wrote about his experience in the best-selling book, “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.” The book was later turned into the movie, “American Sniper.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has called Kyle an American hero who defended others on and off the battlefield.
Kyle’s wife Taya (with whom he had two children) posted a heartfelt tribute to her late husband, saying “I’ve often thought – one of the gifts of all of the pain is I don’t have to wonder if I would have continued to love Chris through all of life’s challenges. When we lay his body to rest… I could truly say, “I know this man in every way. I love him.” He was worth it. My love for him hasn’t changed.”
Kyle was also known for his support of fellow vets suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome and as an outspoken opponent of gun control.
He was 38 years old when he was shot to death in 2013 by former Iraq War veteran Eddie Ray Routh at the Rough Creek Lodge gun range. Routh also killed Kyle’s friend Chad Littlefield who had joined them.
Routh was 25 at the time.
On the day of the murders, Kyle, Littlefield and Routh all arrived together at the shooting range, about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Routh later fled in Kyle’s truck and went to his sister’s home.
According to a search warrant, Routh told his sister and brother-in-law that the men “were out shooting target practice and he couldn’t trust them so he killed them before they could kill him.”
Routh’s brother-in-law told authorities that Routh was diagnosed with PTSD.
Littlefield’s relatives said the outing with Routh was intended to be therapeutic.
The prosecutor didn’t seek capital punishment for Routh, who was eventually convicted for the men’s deaths. He was sentenced to life in prison.