Thursday, April 17, 2014
By NOMAAN MERCHANT/The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
Former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, seen in a 2012 file photo, survived warfare but not a day on a Texas firing range, where an unstable young ex-Marine allegedly shot him and another man.
Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram via The Associated Press
Eddie Ray Routh, who is accused of fatally shooting a former Navy SEAL and a friend, had long been prone to irrational behavior, according to police records.
Erath County Sheriff's Office via The Associated Press
IN RUN-UP TO SHOOTINGS,
MANY RED FLAGS ABOUT
FORT WORTH, Texas — A 911 recording and documents released Tuesday reveal more about the possible state of mind of the Iraq War veteran charged with gunning down a former Navy SEAL sniper and his friend at a Texas shooting range.
Eddie Ray Routh told his sister and brother-in-law that he and the two men "were out shooting target practice and he couldn't trust them so he killed them before they could kill him," according to a Lancaster police search warrant affidavit.
Shortly after the shootings, Routh's sister told a 911 operator that her brother had confessed to killing two people and was "psychotic," according to a recording of the frantic call to police.
Routh, 25, remains jailed in Erath County on $3 million bail and is on suicide watch.
Laura Blevins told police her brother seemed "out of his mind saying people were sucking his soul and that he could smell the pigs. He said he was going to get their souls before they took his," according to the affidavit, obtained by WFAA-TV.
In a 911 call obtained by The Dallas Morning News, Routh's mom, Jodi Routh, told an operator in September that her son "probably needs to go to the VA to the emergency room and they need to admit him to the mental ward." Later, she said one of her son's Marine Corps buddies had taken weapons from the house for safekeeping.
– The Associated Press
Routh was taken to a psychiatric hospital twice in recent months, including on Sept. 2 after he threatened to kill his family and himself, according to police records in the Dallas suburb of Lancaster. Routh told authorities he was suffering from PTSD. His mother told police her son had been drinking and became upset when his father said he was going to sell his gun. She said Routh threatened to "blow his brains out."
"Eddie stated he was hurting and that his family does not understand what he has been through," the police report said.
Gunfire can have unpredictable consequences for someone struggling with the aftermath of war, said Dr. Harry Croft, a San Antonio psychiatrist who has worked with veterans suffering from PTSD.
"The smell of the gunpowder, the flash from the gun, the sight, the sound," Croft said. "All of that can trigger a response ... that the person's not aware of."
Croft said he considered gun therapy a "bad idea in the main," although he acknowledged that target shooting could be a welcome diversion for some people. He also pointed to the high rate of veteran suicides -- estimated last year at about 22 a day.
"I believe that until treatment occurs, being around guns is probably not a good idea," Croft said.
Rieckhoff said he was worried about veterans' illnesses being painted with a broad brush after Kyle's death, adding that more programs to treat veterans were necessary. Guns might be a part of that discussion, he added, but were neither a panacea nor a huge danger.
"We're not going to just start handing out guns to everybody and say, 'Hey, this is going to help you with PTSD,' any more than we would hand out dogs or medication," Rieckhoff said.