Chris Kyle Murder: Eddie Ray Routh, Iraq War vet accused in shooting death of ex-Navy SEAL, had been in mental hospital, records say
(CBS/AP) Texas, FORT WORTH - Eddie Ray Routh, an Iraq War veteran charged with killing best-selling author Chris Kyle was reportedly taken to a mental hospital twice and told authorities he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to police records.
Routh, 25, is charged with one count of capital murder and two counts of murder in the shooting deaths of 38-year-old Kyle and his friend, 35-year-old Chad Littlefield, at a shooting range Saturday in Glen Rose. Routh is now on suicide watch in the Erath County Jail, where he's being held on $3 million bail, Sheriff Tommy Bryant said.
Routh, a member of the Marines Corps Reserve, was first taken to a mental hospital on Sept. 2, 2012 after he threatened to kill his family and himself, according to police records. Authorities found Routh walking nearby with no shirt and no shoes, and smelling of alcohol. Routh told authorities he was a Marine veteran who was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Eddie stated he was hurting and that his family does not understand what he has been through," the report said.
Routh's mother told police her son was drinking and became upset when his father said he was going to sell his gun. She said Routh began arguing with them and said he was going to "blow his brains out."
Police took Routh to Green Oaks Hospital for psychiatric care.
Dallas police records show Routh was taken back to the same mental hospital in mid-January after a woman called police and said she feared for Routh's safety.
In another brush with authorities, Lancaster police in May responded to a burglary reported by Routh's mother that included nine pill bottles. Police say Routh was involved but no other details were available.
Authorities said Routh, Kyle and Littlefield arrived at the Rough Creek Lodge on Saturday afternoon where a hunting guide called 911 about two hours later after discovering the bodies. Kyle and Littlefield were shot multiple times, and numerous guns were at the scene, according to the affidavit.
Routh drove to his sister's house, and told her he killed two people and that he planned to drive to Oklahoma to evade Texas authorities, the affidavit said. Routh's sister then called police and he was arrested after a short police pursuit in Lancaster.
Jailers used a stun gun on Routh on Sunday night after he appeared ready to assault them when they entered his cell after he refused to return his food tray, the sheriff said. Then they put Routh in a chair that restrains his arms and legs in his solitary confinement cell, Bryant said.
Routh joined the Marines in 2006 and rose to the rank of corporal in 2010. His military specialty was small-arms technician, commonly known as an armorer. He was stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and served in Iraq from 2007-08 and in the Haiti disaster relief mission in 2010.
He is now in the individual ready reserve. He could be called to duty, but it's uncommon unless he volunteers, 1st Lt. Dominic Pitrone of the Marine Forces Services public affairs office said.
Kyle left the Navy in 2009 after four tours of duty in Iraq, where he earned a reputation as one of the military's most lethal snipers. He is the author of the best-selling book "American Sniper" and set up the nonprofit FITCO Cares, which gives in-home fitness equipment to physically and emotionally wounded veterans. Littlefield was Kyle's friend, neighbor and "workout buddy," and also volunteered his time to work with veterans.
Travis Cox, director of FITCO Cares, said he believes that Kyle and Littlefield were helping Routh work through PTSD.
Cox didn't know how Routh and Kyle knew each other. He said the shooting range event was not a FITCO session.