Ex-Navy SEAL Died Pursuing His Passion - Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Ex-Navy SEAL Died Pursuing His Passion

Posted: Updated:
Stephenville, TX -

(AP) The former top Navy SEAL sniper who authorities say was killed at a Texas shooting range was devoted to maintaining camaraderie and helping his fellow veterans find their way after leaving active duty.

Chris Kyle, author of the best-selling book "American Sniper," and his friend Chad Littlefield apparently were doing just that Saturday when, officials say, they were shot and killed by former Marine Eddie Ray Routh.

Kyle, 38, had 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. But he quickly found a way to maintain contact with his fellow veterans and pass on what had helped him work through his own struggles. By late 2011, he filed the paperwork to establish the nonprofit FITCO Cares, which received its nonprofit status the following spring, said FITCO director Travis Cox.

"Chris struggled with some things," Cox said. "He'd been through a lot and he handled it with grace, but yeah he did struggle with some things. And he found a healthy outlet and was proactive in his approach to deal with those issues and wanted to help spread his healing, what worked for him, to others. And that's what he died doing."

For Kyle that healthy outlet was exercise. At the heart of FITCO was giving in-home fitness equipment to physically and emotionally wounded veterans, as well as families who had lost a veteran, Cox said.

Littlefield, a 35-year-old friend and neighbor, was Kyle's "workout buddy," and also volunteered his time to work with veterans, Cox said. He was married and had children as well.

"He's a very gentle, sweet-hearted man, just a great man, kind of quiet," Cox said of Littlefield. "He just really cared. ... He wanted to do whatever he could to help veterans and help see that vision of serving others that Chris had. He shared that vision with all of us. He was a great man."

Cox said he understood that Kyle and Littlefield were helping Routh work through his own PTSD, but that he did not know how they came into contact. He said it was not a FITCO session.

Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant on Sunday offered a similar description of the situation.

"It's my understanding that the suspect may have been suffering from some type of mental illness from being in the military himself," he said of Routh.

He said Routh's mother may have reached out to Kyle for help with her son.

"We kind of have an idea that maybe that's why they were at the range for some type of therapy that Mr. Kyle assists people with," Bryant said.

Bryant didn't know whether Routh was on any medication or whether he had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Authorities say the three men arrived at the Rough Creek Lodge southwest of Fort Worth around 3:15 p.m. Saturday. A hunting guide discovered the bodies of Kyle and Littlefield around 5 p.m. and called 911.

  • Share ThisMore>>

  • NYPD Twitter hashtag #myNYPD backfires

    NYPD Twitter hashtag #myNYPD backfires

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 5:50 PM EDT2014-04-23 21:50:32 GMT
    An NYPD plan intended to better connect with the community on Twitter using the hashtag "myNYPD" seems to have backfired.
    An NYPD plan intended to better connect with the community on Twitter using the hashtag "myNYPD" seems to have backfired.
  • Teen Okay after Hiding In Wheel Well Of Jet Bound For Hawaii

    Teen Okay after Hiding In Wheel Well Of Jet Bound For Hawaii

    Teen Okay after Hiding In Wheel Well Of Jet Bound For Hawaii

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:21 PM EDT2014-04-23 02:21:57 GMT
    Officials say a 16-year-old boy is "lucky to be alive" and unharmed after flying from California to Hawaii stowed away in a plane's wheel well, surviving cold temperatures at 38,000 feet and a lack of oxygen. "Doesn't even remember the flight," FBI spokesman Tom Simon in Honolulu told The Associated Press on Sunday night. "It's amazing he survived that." The boy was questioned by the FBI after being discovered on the tarmac at the Maui airport Sunday morning with no identification, Simon said...
    Officials say a 16-year-old boy is "lucky to be alive" and unharmed after flying from California to Hawaii stowed away in a plane's wheel well, surviving cold temperatures at 38,000 feet and a lack of oxygen. "Doesn't even remember the flight," FBI spokesman Tom Simon in Honolulu told The Associated Press on Sunday night. "It's amazing he survived that." The boy was questioned by the FBI after being discovered on the tarmac at the Maui airport Sunday morning with no identification, Simon said...
  • Anaheim's Wonderful WonderCon

    Anaheim's Wonderful WonderCon

    Monday, April 21 2014 10:58 AM EDT2014-04-21 14:58:42 GMT
    It was Easter weekend and while some Angelenos spent their time at Mass, there was a group of passionate people who showed up in mass to celebrate their favorite superheroes at the Anaheim WonderCon.
    It was Easter weekend and while some Angelenos spent their time at Mass, there was a group of passionate people who showed up in mass to celebrate their favorite superheroes at the Anaheim WonderCon.
Powered by WorldNow

KTTV FOX 11
1999 S. Bundy Dr.
Los Angeles CA 90025

Main: (310) 584-2000
News Tips? (310) 584-2025

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices