Iraq War vet accused in shooting on suicide watch

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Iraq War veteran charged with killing a former Navy SEAL sniper and his friend on a Texas shooting range had to be shocked with a stun gun and restrained in his jail cell overnight after becoming aggressive, a sheriff said Monday.

Eddie Ray Routh, 25, is on suicide watch in the Erath County Jail, where he’s being held on $3 million bond, Sheriff Tommy Bryant said. Routh is charged with one count of capital murder and two counts of murder in the shooting deaths of Chris Kyle, author of the best-selling book “American Sniper,” and his friend Chad Littlefield at a shooting range Saturday in Glen Rose.

Routh, a member of the Marines Corps Reserve, appeared ready to assault jailers Sunday night when they entered his solitary confinement cell because he refused to return his food tray, Bryant said. After warnings, jailers used a stun gun once and then put Routh in a chair that restrains his arms and legs, Bryant said.

Bryant said Routh has an attorney but hasn’t met with him at the jail in Stephenville, about 75 miles southwest of Fort Worth, and he has not said anything to investigators.

Authorities say the three men arrived at the sprawling Rough Creek Lodge on Saturday afternoon, and a hunting guide discovered the bodies of Kyle and Littlefield about two hours later and called 911. Bryant said Sunday that the men were shot more than once.

Routh then drove Kyle’s pickup to his sister’s house in Midlothian and told her that he killed two people, and she called police, Erath County Sheriff’s Capt. Jason Upshaw said Monday. Routh was arrested after a short police pursuit in Lancaster, near his home.

Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Routh’s mother and sister were unsuccessful Monday.

Sundae Hughes, an aunt of Routh’s, said she has known him since he was born and watched him grow up. But she said she has not seen him since his high school graduation in 2006.

Hughes was in disbelief that her nephew could be involved in such an incident.

“He has a kind heart (and was) someone willing to jump in and help, no matter what it was,” she said.

Routh joined the Marines in 2006 and rose to the rank of corporal in 2010. His military specialty was small-arms technician, commonly known as an armorer. He had been stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and served in Iraq from 2007-08 and in the Haiti disaster relief mission in 2010.

He is now in the individual ready reserve, which basically means he’s a civilian. He could be called to duty, but it’s uncommon unless he volunteers, said 1st Lt. Dominic Pitrone of the Marine Forces Services public affairs office.

Travis Cox, director of FITCO Cares — the nonprofit that Kyle set up to give in-home fitness equipment to physically and emotionally wounded veterans — said he believes that Kyle and Littlefield were helping Routh work through PTSD.

Cox said Routh’s mother may have asked Kyle to help her son, but Cox didn’t know how Routh and Kyle knew each other. He said the shooting range event was not a FITCO session.

Lt. Cmdr. Rorke Denver, who served with Kyle in Iraq in 2006, wasn’t surprised that Kyle apparently used a shooting range to help someone with PTSD.

“For us, for warriors, that’s a skill set that has become very familiar, very comfortable for us,” said Denver, a lieutenant commander in a reserve SEAL team. “So I actually see it as kind of a perfect use of Chris’ unique skill set and expertise of which he has very few peers.”

Kyle, 38, left the Navy in 2009 after four tours of duty in Iraq, where he earned a reputation as one of the military’s most lethal snipers. “American Sniper” was No. 3 seller of paperbacks and hardcovers on Amazon as of Monday, and the hardcover was out of stock. Littlefield, 35, was Kyle’s friend, neighbor and “workout buddy,” and also volunteered his time to work with veterans, Cox said.

FITCO Cares offered life coaching for veterans, a daily support group and weekly group counseling. Sometimes veterans in other states would video conference in to counseling sessions, Cox said.

“He (Kyle) didn’t have any fear at all as far as working with an extreme case,” Cox said. “Just like in combat he would take it on head-on and do whatever he could to give these guys assistance.”

More in Local News

Mayor tries new tactic to curb fire department overtime

Stephanson says an engine won’t go into service when the only available staff would be on overtime.

Jamie Copeland is a senior at Cedar Park Christian Schools’ Mountlake Terrace campus. She is a basketball player, ASB president, cheerleader and, of course, a Lion. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Cedar Park Christian senior stepping up to new challenges

Jamie Copeland’s academics include STEM studies, leadership, ASB activities, honor society.

Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Paine Field fire chief will be allowed to retire

In his letter, the airport director noted Jeff Bohnet was leaving while under investigation.

Stanwood man, 33, killed in crash near Marysville

Speed may have been a factor, the sheriff’s department said.

County plans to sue to recoup costs from ballot drop-box law

A quarter-million dollars could be spent adding 19 ballot boxes in rural areas.

Woman, 47, found dead in Marysville jail cell

She’d been in custody about four days after being arrested on warrants, police said.

Lynnwood man allegedly cuts Marysville’s 911 dispatch wires

The man reportedly told police he intended to trade the wires for drugs.

Ian Terry / The Herald Westbound cars merge from Highway 204 and 20th Street Southeast onto the trestle during the morning commute on Thursday, March 30 in Lake Stevens. Photo taken on 03302017
Pay a toll on US 2 trestle? 10,000 say no on social media

A GOP lawmaker’s chart shows theoretical toll rates of up to $6.30 to cross the trestle one way.

Most Read