Chris Kyle, a former US Navy SEAL sniper who was responsible for 160 kills during his career as a sniper, was shot and killed along with another man at a gun range on Saturday, said Scott McEwen, the co-author Kyle’s autobiography.
A suspect, identified as Eddie Ray Routh, was arrested, reports said.
Kyle, who wrote the book American Sniper about his time in the military from 1999 to 2009, and another man were found dead at the Rough Creek Lodge’s shooting range on Saturday, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported, quoting Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant.
The second victim was not identified.
“It just comes as a shock and it’s staggering to think that after all Chris has been through, that this is how he meets his end, because there are so many ways he could have been killed” in Iraq, McEwen said.
Rough Creek Lodge is in Glen Rose, Texas, about 80km southwest of Fort Worth. Rough Creek Lodge referred calls to the Erath County Sheriff’s Office, but Bryant was not immediately available for comment.
Kyle served four combat tours of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom and elsewhere, winning two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars for bravery, his book says.
After leaving the US Navy, Kyle founded Craft International, a firm that provided combat and weapons training to military, police, corporate and civilian clients.
In an interview last year with Time magazine, he was asked what went through his mind when he aimed at a target.
“The first time, you’re not even sure you can do it, but I’m not over there looking at these people as people. I’m not wondering if he has a family. I’m just trying to keep my guys safe,” he said. “Every time I kill someone, he can’t plant an IED [improvised explosive device]. You don’t think twice about it.”
Kyle is the co-author of another book coming out in May, titled American Gun — A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms. For the book, he fired 10 weapons — such as the Spencer repeating rifle from the US Civil War, the Colt .45 used in the Old West era and the Thompson sub-machine gun popular with law enforcement and gangsters in the 1920s — and discussed their parts in US history.
In the wake of the slayings of 20 children and six adults at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, in December last year, Kyle was interviewed last month about rising calls for curbing gun violence in the US. He told the Web site guns.com that he favored arming teachers who have been screened and trained, and spoke against restrictions on gun owners.