February 5, 2013

Veteran who killed 'American Sniper' had been in mental hospital

The suspect in the deaths of the ‘Sniper’ author and a friend is on suicide watch in a Texas jail.

The Associated Press

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In this April 6, 2012, photo, former Navy SEAL and author of the book "American Sniper", Chris Kyle poses in Midlothian, Texas. A Texas sheriff has told local newspapers that Kyle has been fatally shot along with another man on a gun range on Saturday.

AP

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This undated file photo provided by the Erath County Sheriff’s Office shows Eddie Ray Routh, who was charged with killing former Navy SEAL and "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a shooting range southwest of Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant says Routh, 25, was shocked with a stun gun and restrained in his jail cell Sunday night after becoming aggressive. (AP Photo/Erath County Sheriff's Office, File)

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"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 to 2008 and in the Haiti disaster relief mission in 2010.

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 didn't know how Routh and Kyle knew each other. He said the shooting range event was not a FITCO session.

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 the No. 3 seller of paperbacks 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.

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