Routh was captured a few hours later near his home in Lancaster, a southern Dallas suburb, folllowing a brief pursuit. He will be charged with two counts of capital murder, law enforcement officials said.
Friends of Kyle said he had been well acquainted with the difficulties soldiers face returning to civilian life, and had devoted much of his time since retiring in 2009 to helping fellow soldiers overcome the traumas of war.
“He served this country with extreme honor, but came home and was a servant leader in helping his brothers and sisters dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder," said Cox, also a former military sniper.
In 2011, Kyle created the FITCO Cares Foundation to provide veterans with exercise equipment and counseling. He believed that exercise and the camaraderie of fellow veterans could help former soldiers ease into civilian life.
Kyle, who lived outside of Dallas with his wife and their two children, had his own difficulties adjusting after retiring from the SEALs. He was deployed in Iraq during the worst years of the insurgency, perched in or on top of bombed-out apartment buildings with his .300 Winchester Magnum. His job was to provide “overwatch," preventing enemy fighters from ambushing Marine units.
He did not think the job would be difficult, he wrote in his book, “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History."
But two weeks into his time in Iraq, he found himself staring through his scope into the face of an unconventional enemy. A woman with a child standing close by had pulled a grenade from beneath her clothes as several Marines approached. He hesitated, he wrote, then shot.
“It was my duty to shoot, and I don’t regret it," he wrote. “My shots saved several Americans, whose lives were clearly worth more than that woman’s twisted soul."
Over time, his hesitation diminished and he became proficient at his job, credited for more than 150 kills. In his book, he describes taking out a fighter wielding a rocket launcher 2,100 yards away, a very long distance for a sniper and his farthest ever.
“Maybe the way I jerked the trigger to the right adjusted for the wind," he wrote. “Maybe gravity shifted and put that bullet right where it had to be."
“Whatever, I watched through my scope as the shot hit the Iraqi, who tumbled over the wall to the ground."
Sheriff Tommy Bryant of Erath County said investigators were still sorting out how the three men had known one another and for how long, but the authorities said the Saturday trip was the first time they had been out together at that shooting range. They said they did not know the motive.