What Happened to Chris Kyle: The Tragic End of America’s Deadliest Sniper

Chris Kyle was a highly decorated Navy SEAL sniper who served four tours of duty in Iraq. He gained national attention with the publication of his autobiography, “American Sniper,” which detailed his experiences as a sniper in the Iraq War. The book was later adapted into a blockbuster movie directed by Clint Eastwood, further cementing Kyle’s status as an American hero.

However, Kyle’s life came to a tragic end on February 2, 2013, when he and a colleague, Chad Littlefield, were shot and killed at a gun range outside of Fort Worth, Texas, by Eddie Ray Routh, a former Marine suffering from PTSD. Routh was later found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The incident shocked the nation and brought attention to the struggles that many veterans face when returning home from war.

Early Life and Military Career

Chris Kyle, born in Odessa, Texas, on April 8, 1974, grew up hunting and rodeoing. He attended Tarleton State University before joining the military.

In 1999, Kyle enlisted in the United States Navy and went on to join the elite SEALs unit. He quickly gained admittance to the unit and began his basic training on February 10, 1999. Kyle served four deployments to Iraq as a sniper and earned a reputation as a highly skilled marksman.

During his military career, Kyle received numerous awards and commendations, including two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars with “V” devices, signifying valor in combat. His fellow service members held him in high regard and considered him a hero.

Kyle’s dedication to his country and his service in the military made him a respected figure in the United States. His legacy as a Navy SEAL and sniper has been immortalized in the book “American Sniper” and the movie of the same name.

Career as a Sniper

Chris Kyle’s career as a sniper is what he is most well-known for. He served four deployments in Iraq as a sniper and was credited with 160 confirmed kills, making him the deadliest marksman in U.S. military history.

Kyle’s skills as a sniper were highly valued by his fellow soldiers, and he was often called upon to take out high-value targets. He was known for his ability to make difficult shots from long distances, and he was able to do so with incredible accuracy.

In his memoir, American Sniper, Kyle recounts some of his most memorable kills, including a shot he made from over 2,100 yards away that took out an insurgent who was about to launch a rocket-propelled grenade at a group of Marines.

Despite the high number of kills he was credited with, Kyle never saw himself as a killer. He saw his role as a sniper as a necessary part of the war effort, and he believed that he was doing what he could to protect his fellow soldiers and serve his country.

Kyle’s career as a sniper was not without its challenges. He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of his experiences in Iraq, and he struggled to adjust to civilian life after leaving the military. However, he remained proud of his service and continued to advocate for veterans until his untimely death in 2013.

Post-Military Life

After retiring from the military, Chris Kyle became a public figure thanks to his best-selling autobiography, “American Sniper,” which was later adapted into a movie directed by Clint Eastwood and starred Bradley Cooper as Kyle. The movie was a commercial and critical success, grossing over $547 million worldwide and receiving six Academy Award nominations.

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Despite the success, Kyle remained humble and dedicated to helping others. He and his wife, Taya Kyle, founded the FITCO Cares Foundation, which provided support to veterans suffering from PTSD and other mental health issues. The foundation also helped veterans with physical disabilities by providing them with in-home gym equipment.

In addition to his charity work, Kyle continued to write. He co-authored a memoir with Scott McEwen titled “American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms.” The book explored the history of America through the lens of ten iconic guns, from the Kentucky Rifle to the M16.

Kyle’s post-military life was not without its challenges. He struggled with PTSD and found it difficult to adjust to civilian life. However, he remained committed to helping others and making a positive impact in the world. His legacy continues to inspire people today, and his story has been immortalized in both his autobiography and the movie adaptation, which starred Sienna Miller as Taya Kyle.

Philanthropic Efforts

Chris Kyle was not only a decorated Navy SEAL and sniper but also a philanthropist who dedicated his life to serving veterans and their families. He founded Craft International, a tactical training company that provided training to military, law enforcement, and civilians.

In addition to his work with Craft International, Kyle also established the FITCO Cares Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides support to veterans suffering from PTSD and other mental health issues. The foundation offers free in-home fitness equipment and training to veterans to help them improve their physical and mental health.

Kyle’s philanthropic efforts did not stop there. He also worked with other organizations that support veterans, including the Patriot Tour, which raises funds for wounded veterans, and the Lone Survivor Foundation, which provides support to veterans and their families.

Kyle’s legacy of philanthropy has continued even after his death. The Chris Kyle Memorial Benefit, a charity event held annually in Texas, raises funds for the FITCO Cares Foundation and other organizations that support veterans.

Chris Kyle’s philanthropic efforts have had a significant impact on the lives of veterans and their families. His dedication to serving those who have served our country is an inspiring example of selflessness and compassion.


Chris Kyle’s life and legacy were not without controversies. One of the most notable controversies was his involvement in a lawsuit with former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura. In his book “American Sniper,” Kyle claimed that he punched Ventura in a bar for making derogatory comments about Navy SEALs. Ventura denied the incident ever occurred and sued Kyle for defamation. The lawsuit continued even after Kyle’s death and resulted in a $1.8 million judgment against Kyle’s estate.

Another controversy surrounding Kyle was the number of kills he claimed to have made during his military career. In his book, Kyle claimed to have killed over 255 people, making him the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history. However, some have questioned the accuracy of these claims, and it is unclear how many of these kills were officially confirmed by the military.

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The killings of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield in 2013 also sparked controversy. The man responsible for their deaths, Eddie Ray Routh, was a Marine veteran suffering from PTSD. Some have criticized the military’s treatment of veterans with mental health issues and the availability of firearms to those with mental health problems.

Despite these controversies, Chris Kyle remains a celebrated figure among many Americans, particularly those in the military and law enforcement communities. His story has inspired countless individuals and has been the subject of numerous books, documentaries, and films.

Tragic End

Chris Kyle’s life came to a tragic end on February 2, 2013, when he and his friend Chad Littlefield were shot and killed at a gun range outside of Forth Worth, Texas, by Eddie Ray Routh, a troubled veteran suffering from PTSD.

The incident occurred at the Rough Creek Ranch-Lodge-Resort shooting range in Erath County, Texas. Kyle and Littlefield had taken Routh to the range to help him cope with his mental health issues. However, Routh turned on them and shot them both with a handgun.

After the shooting, Routh fled the scene in Kyle’s truck. He was later apprehended by police and charged with capital murder. In 2015, Routh was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The trial was a highly publicized event, with the prosecution arguing that Routh knew right from wrong and that he had intentionally killed Kyle and Littlefield. The defense argued that Routh was insane at the time of the shooting and did not know what he was doing.

During the trial, Erath County Sheriff’s Deputy Gene Cole testified that Routh had confessed to the murders, saying that he “knew what he was doing” and that he “had to take care of business.” The prosecution also presented evidence that Routh had been drinking and smoking marijuana on the day of the shooting.

The case was investigated by the Texas Rangers, who worked closely with Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, and the Kyle family. Taya Kyle has since become an advocate for veterans suffering from PTSD, and she has written a book about her husband’s life and death.

The tragic end of Chris Kyle’s life has left a lasting impact on his family, friends, and the nation as a whole. He will always be remembered as a hero and a devoted husband and father who gave his life in service to his country and his fellow veterans.

Trial of Eddie Ray Routh

Eddie Ray Routh was found guilty of capital murder in the deaths of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield on February 2, 2013. The trial took place in Stephenville, Texas, and lasted two weeks. The jury deliberated for less than three hours before reaching a verdict.

During the trial, Routh’s defense team argued that he was insane at the time of the killings due to his history of mental illness, including schizophrenia. However, the prosecution argued that Routh was aware of his actions and that he had a motive for killing Kyle and Littlefield.

Routh’s motive for the killings was never fully established, but it was suggested that he may have been upset with Kyle for not helping him with his mental health issues. Additionally, Routh had a history of drug use, including marijuana and alcohol, which may have contributed to his actions.

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The trial also revealed that Routh had served in the Marine Corps, but had been discharged in 2010 for reasons that were not disclosed. Routh’s time in the military was marked by several incidents of violent behavior, including an assault on his commanding officer.

In the end, the jury found Routh guilty of capital murder and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The verdict was welcomed by the families of Kyle and Littlefield, as well as by Erath County Sheriff’s Deputy Gene Cole, who had been the first to arrive at the scene of the killings.

The trial of Eddie Ray Routh highlighted the therapeutic value of DNA testing in criminal investigations. The DNA evidence collected at the scene of the crime was crucial in establishing Routh’s guilt, and it helped to dispel any doubts about his involvement in the killings.

the trial of Eddie Ray Routh was a landmark case that brought attention to the issue of mental illness in the military and its potential impact on veterans’ mental health. It also underscored the need for greater support and resources for former Marines and other veterans who may be struggling with mental health issues.

Legacy and Impact

Chris Kyle’s legacy has left an indelible mark on American history and culture. He is remembered as a hero and a patriot who served his country with distinction. His life and service have been the subject of numerous books, documentaries, and films, including the blockbuster hit “American Sniper,” directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper.

The film, which was based on Kyle’s memoir of the same name, grossed over $500 million worldwide and was nominated for six Academy Awards. It brought Kyle’s story to a wider audience and sparked a national conversation about the impact of war on soldiers and their families.

Kyle’s wife, Taya Kyle, has continued his legacy through her work with the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, which provides support and resources to military and first responder families. She has also been an advocate for veterans’ mental health and has spoken openly about her own struggles with grief and trauma.

In addition to his military service, Kyle was also a successful entrepreneur and founded Craft International, a company that provided training and security services to law enforcement and military personnel. He also founded the FITCO Cares Foundation, which provided support and resources to veterans struggling with PTSD and other mental health issues.

Despite his many accomplishments, Kyle’s life was tragically cut short when he was killed in 2013 by a fellow veteran suffering from PTSD. His death was a devastating blow to his family, friends, and the entire military community.

In the wake of his passing, Kyle’s legacy has continued to inspire and impact people around the world. He is remembered as a symbol of courage, sacrifice, and dedication to his country and his fellow man. His life and service serve as a reminder of the true cost of war and the importance of supporting those who have served in defense of peace and freedom.

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