Today marks the fifth anniversary of the day US Navy SEAL and sniper Chris Kyle was shot and killed by former US Marine Eddie Ray Routh.
Kyle served four tours overseas in the Iraq War and holds the record as the deadliest sniper in American military history. At the height of his career, insurgents placed an $80,000 bounty on his head and came to know him as “Al-Shaitan Ramad,” or the Devil of Ramadi. During his deployment, Kyle was shot twice and involved in six separate IED explosions.
Kyle has more than 150 kills confirmed by the Pentagon – though he claims to have killed more than 255 individuals.
In his book, he details his first kill, in which he picked off an Iraqi woman holding a hand grenade.
“The woman was already dead,” he writes. “I was just making sure she didn’t take any Marines with her. It was clear that not only did she want to kill them, but she didn’t care about anybody else nearby who would have been blown up by the grenade or killed in the firefight. Children on the street, people in the houses, maybe her child.”
In 2009, Kyle left the SEALs to move home to Texas and focus on his family. He wrote a New York Times bestseller titled “American Sniper” and became a nationally recognized figure. He appeared on “CONAN” in 2012 and detailed his longest kill shot – 2100 yards away.
In his time away from service, Kyle began working with veterans who returned from duty with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by taking them to remote shooting ranges in Texas.
On February 2, 2014, he and his close friend Chad Littlefield took US Marine Eddie Ray Routh to a shooting range near Chalk Mountain, Texas to help him cope with his mental health issues. On the way to the range, Kyle reportedly texted Littlefield “this dude is straight up nuts” in regard to Routh. Littlefield responded, asking Kyle to “watch my six” while they were out with him.
That day, Routh killed Chris Kyle with a .45 caliber pistol and Littlefield with a 9mm SIG Sauer pistol. Routh is now serving life in prison without the possibility of parole. Kyle’s memorial service was held in the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium and people lined more than 130 miles of highway to honor the hero.
After Chris Kyle was killed, Clint Eastwood directed a movie based on Kyle’s book with the same name. It won an Oscar for best sound editing and raked in $547,326,372 worldwide.
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