Man accused of killing retired SEAL and friend had been in mental hospital

Posted Monday, Feb. 04, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The man accused of killing retired Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and his friend had been taken to a psychiatric hospital at least twice, the last time just two weeks before Saturday's fatal shootings at a gun range, according to police reports obtained Monday by the Star-Telegram.

Eddie Ray Routh, 25, remained in the Erath County Jail Monday facing two charges of capital murder with bail set at $3 million. Authorities said Routh is on suicide watch and that Sunday night, jailers had to use a stun gun to subdue him when he became combative.

Routh is accused of shooting and killed Kyle, the U.S. military's most lethal sniper and author of the best-selling book American Sniper, and his friend Chad Littlefield at a gun range Saturday at Rough Creek Lodge west of Glen Rose.

Kyle and Littlefield had taken Routh to the gun range in an attempt to help the veteran deal with problems he was having related to post traumatic stress disorder.

Mental health issues were also cited in police reports involving Routh.

On Jan. 19, Dallas police responded to a "major disturbance call" in the 7600 block of Churchill Way involving Routh and a 33-year-old woman.

The woman told police that she was trying to get Routh help and she feared for Routh's safety. Routh was taken to Green Oaks Psychiatric Hospital for a mental health evaluation.

On Sept. 2, 2012, Lancaster police officers responded to the report of a "major disturbance" in the 200 block of West Sixth Street, where Routh was threatening to kill himself and family. He had left the scene and Lancaster police found Routh walking nearby. He smelled of alcohol and "Eddie was emotional and crying," according to the report.

Police also noted that Routh -- who told police he was a Marine and suffering from PTSD -- was not wearing shoes or a shirt.

The Iraq veteran was taken to Green Oaks for a mental evaluation.

Jodi Leigh Routh, the suspect's mother, had reached out to Kyle to ask him to help her son, said Clint Burgess, a Tarrant County constable and Kyle's friend.

But it is not clear how much she told Kyle about her son's condition.

After the shooting Saturday, Routh drove away from the range in Kyle's truck and arrived at his sister and brother-in-law's home in Midlothian and told them that he had killed two people, authorities said.

He then drove to his Lancaster home. At that location, authorities conversed with him, but he managed to get into a vehicle and led them on a pursuit before his vehicle was disabled and he was arrested.

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 had been stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and served in Iraq from 2007-08 and in the Haiti disaster relief mission in 2010.

Kyle, co-author of the bestselling memoir American Sniper, had the most confirmed sniper kills in U.S. military history, over 150, which he racked up during four tours in Iraq. After 10 years in the service, Kyle returned to Midlothian, where he lived in the Twin Creek development with his wife, Taya, and their two children. He helped create Craft International, a Dallas training and security company.

This report contains information from the Associated Press.

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763

Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

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