Feb. 2 marks nine years since decorated Navy SEAL veteran Chris Kyle was shot and killed at the age of 38 by a fellow veteran in 2013.
Kyle served out a nearly 11-year career in the Navy from his enlistment in Feb. 1999 to his discharge in Nov. 2009. He then created a security training company called Craft International, and it was during a training event that PTSD-stricken veteran Eddie Routh ambushed Kyle, shooting him five times in the back while at a gun range in Texas. Kyle’s friend Chad Littlefield was also killed in the attack.
“My husband, Chris, was cruelly murdered by a man he was trying to help,” Taya Kyle wrote in a 2019 op-ed derived from her latest book, “American Spirit.”
Kyle, a Texas native, was honored during a memorial at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Feb. 11, 2013. He was buried at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin the next day.
After a 13-day trial in 2015, Routh was found guilty of murdering Kyle and Littlefield. He was immediately sentenced to life in prison.
Kyle was referred to as the deadliest sniper in the U.S. with more than 150 kills under his belt.
From killing two insurgents with a single bullet, to taking fatal shots more than a mile away, he was a highly skilled sniper recognized even by the enemy. He’d said Iraqi insurgents placed a $20,000 bounty on his head and nicknamed him “The Devil.”
Just a month before his murder, Kyle told then-Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that he had no regrets about the people he killed in his career, calling them “savages.”
“They live by putting fear into other people’s hearts and civilized people just don’t act that way,” he said at the time.
Kyle had said the only regret he had was the people he wasn’t able to save.
The rumors of his deadly accomplishments had numerous authors poised to write books about Kyle, but in order to ensure respect was paid to his fellow SEALs, Kyle decided to pen his own biography. The book was titled “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History” and it was released in 2012.
After his death, the book was turned into a movie, “American Sniper,” which was released in 2014.
Kyle served four deployments to Iraq and was given 14 awards, which included two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor, and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.
“I didn’t do it for the money or the awards. I did it because I felt like it was something that needed to be done and it was honorable. I loved the guys,” Kyle told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 2012.
Kyle had two children with his wife, Taya Kyle, who has helped carry on his legacy through their foundation and fundraising efforts to help inspire those struggling with hardships.