The murder of Chris Kyle: A watershed moment for military PTSD?

One of the deadliest snipers in America was reportedly shot dead by a troubled ex-Marine he was trying to help

Eddie Ray Routh
(Image credit: REUTERS/Erath County Sheriff’s Office)

Chris Kyle was so deadly with a sniper rifle that Iraqi insurgents gave the U.S. Navy SEAL the nickname "the devil of Ramadi" and put a bounty on his head. No dice. Kyle retired in 2009 as one of the deadliest snipers in U.S. military history, notching at least 150 kills, then published a best-selling autobiography, American Sniper, in 2012. Kyle started a military training company, Craft International, and in 2011 launched a charity, FITCO Cares Foundation, to help provide exercise equipment and counseling for veterans, especially those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). On Saturday, Kyle, 38, and a friend, fellow veteran Chad Littlefield, 35, were shot dead at a Dallas-area shooting range, allegedly by unemployed Marine reservist Eddie Ray Routh, who reportedly became afflicted with PTSD during tours in Iraq and Haiti.

According to law enforcement officials, Routh shot Kyle and Littlefield point-blank, drove off in Kyle's truck, confessed to the murders to his sister, then returned home, where police found him and subsequently caught him after a brief car chase. "My heart is breaking," Travis Cox, director of FITCO Cares, said in a statement. "Chris died doing what he filled his heart with passion — serving soldiers struggling with the fight to overcome PTSD. His service, life, and premature death will never be in vain."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us
Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.