Chris Kyle, Author and Former Navy SEAL Sniper, Dies at 38

According to early reports, he was killed, along with another man, by a veteran while all three were on a recreational shooting trip

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Chris Kyle
Chris Haston / NBC

Chris Kyle, who died on Saturday, Feb. 2, after being shot at a Texas gun range, was a divisive figure. He was a former Navy SEAL and a military hero with a slew of medals including two Silver Stars, having served five back-to-back tours in Iraq as a sniper. He had 160 confirmed kills, the highest count in U.S. military history. But there were those who were made uncomfortable by his lethal proficiency.

And at the time of his death, he was being sued by former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura for remarks in his best-selling book, American Sniper.

(VIDEO: 10 Questions with American Sniper, Chris Kyle)

One thing nobody ever doubted, however, was his bravery. His kill count was so high because he often served with other branches of the military, especially the Marines. According to early reports, he was killed, along with another man, by a veteran while all three were on a recreational shooting trip. Unconfirmed reports suggested Kyle had taken his alleged killer, Eddie Ray Routh, on the outing to help alleviate Routh’s posttraumatic stress disorder.

In an interview with TIME in January 2012, Kyle, 38, said he did not regret shooting any of the people he had killed, including his first long-range hit, a woman who had a grenade in one hand and a toddler in the other. He did note, however, that he could not bring himself to kill a small boy who picked up a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, even though the rules of engagement allowed it.

During the interview, Kyle was polite, affable and not easily ruffled. It was clear, however, that he was not a man to be messed with. In person, he had both the cuddliness and latent aggression of a bear. “I really don’t care what people think of me. I’ve got my family. I’ve got my friends. Yes, I have been trained to be a little more aggressive if I need to be, but I don’t go around thumping people,” he said.

Kyle, who leaves a wife and two kids, joked during that interview that he only usually got hurt at home. “My wife jokes that I hang up my cape when I get home,” he said. “I’d stub my toe or break my toe at home but at work was fine.”

MOREHow Not to Censor a Book: Pentagon Makes a Best Seller

58 comments
SuhailShafi
SuhailShafi

Worse things have happened to better people. Those who live by the sword.......

Chard
Chard

It's unfortunate that there weren't any good guys with guns around to save the day. Perhaps Wayne LaPierre is right and the answer to this tragedy is armed guards on every shooting range

JohnDahodi
JohnDahodi

Kyle proudly identified himself as a Crusader and was getting pride in killings as many as evils (Muslims) in Iraq for the cause of his faith. Does, the  Iraq war was a hidden Crusade and Christian war on Islam? A commission needed to explore this fact.

davej728
davej728

Quite possibly the worst interviewer in media history.

Frank_Sturgis
Frank_Sturgis

He killed hundreds of people who were doing nothing more than defending their country against a bunch of thugs invading their nation.  Now he got to experience what he dished out.  Poetic justice.

KevinWatkins
KevinWatkins

How ironic. Mr. working class super sniper smug white boy bites the dust by the sword. When God asks him why he killed 160 people and he says, blind patriotism - plus I am lower class and could not get a decent job in civilian life -  don t you think this cracker will have every right to be nervous?  It ain t going to fly! 

lesroe
lesroe

To all the ungrateful, pampered, ignorant AndyMills of the World - grow up.

AndyMills
AndyMills

" The critics won't understand that you killed to keep us free"

 How? Iraq as a country was not threat to the US in any shape or form; it’s a former close ally, used by the US to wage war against Iran..  Now thanks to the US, Iraq is a country of chaos and Iran emboldened, this entire unnecessary war has been a disaster from start to finish.



AndyMills
AndyMills

A hero for killing 150 Iraqis, during an illegal war started on a lie, carried out purely to enrich the friends of Bush. Those people he killed were defending their country against a foreign invader; show me one American patriot who would not have done exactly the same thing.

Yeah makes sense to me.... Some hero...

SamuelClemens
SamuelClemens

So how do you know that God loves killing for country? Did you find it in the 11th commandment that Moses forgot to write down? Does it apply to the freedom fighters martyred resisting the foreign invaders who were all infidels hating the one true God? When do we stop honoring the martyrs for their service? Where does it end, this God of War? Perhaps less war God and more peace might help.

lesroe
lesroe

Thank you for your character and your service in a time when so many Americans despise this country; a country, while imperfect (because it is a reflection of human beings, who are also imperfect), but renders more opportunities to its citizens than any other country in history. I can not imagine the bravery and professionalism it took you to become a Navy Seal. I have viewed the BUDS class tapes on YouTube and the rigor required to make it through is beyond my comprehension. The critics won't understand that you killed to keep us free, and in the hopes that one day other nations will also be free. I understand. God bless you Chris, God bless your family and friends. This is the wrong end for you, but one that must be accepted with the knowledge that you are now in a better place. Rest In Peace for eternity. 

DarwinAkbar
DarwinAkbar

A "hero"? For what? For shooting dead 160 Iraqis who did no more than take up arms against a foreign invader? If another country invaded the US, would that make Americans who fight the invader the "bad guys"? Had Chris Kyle put up his hand and said "no" to an illegal and immoral war, refused to be deployed, THEN he would have been a hero.

mrxexon
mrxexon

Those who live by the sword...


x

lesroe
lesroe

@Chard  Grow up pampered little boy - this man was trained to fight for your freedom, and in return you spit on his grave.  Ungrateful, selfish, ugly little boy.

sebastionkain
sebastionkain

@Frank_Sturgis So you equate our honorable men and women serving their country and paying the ultimate sacrifice for you to get on here and bad mouth them, with thugs?  That line of thought is repugnant, and should make you feel shame at the comfort you enjoy because of their sacrifice, but it probably won't.  People who show that level of ignorance are usually too ignorant to feel shame when they are wrong.  I have a suggestion for you.  In fact, two.  First, if you feel they are oppressed and such, and we are thugs, why don't you go live with them, and help them when the thugs come calling.  See how that works out for you.  Second, if the first is too much like work, how about you find a group of these horrible thugs on their off time, and explain to their face just how they are thugs?  Show us how brave and honorable you are.  Stand up for your beliefs and your words, instead of hiding behind the internet.  Oh how brave you are...

lesroe
lesroe

@Frank_Sturgis  If you think the members of the military should decide which orders to obey and which orders to ignore, then we live under a nation ruled by the military and not the civilians who were elected by the people.  These are fundamentals you should have learned in elementary school.

sebastionkain
sebastionkain

@KevinWatkins wow, racist much?  Military personnel are asked to do a lot of things in service to their country and others.  If you pick up a weapon, you are an enemy combatant, and put yourself in harms way.  Patriotism and the service of such honorable men and women, is what allows people like you to live free to say ignorant things.  If you don't like this country or her defenders, and the life you have because of their sacrifice, you are free to leave at any time.  Go try Iraq or Afghanistan.  See how grateful you become for the freedoms that smug white boy cracker bought for you.  Of course you won't, because just like every ignorant enemy of America, that likes to bite the hand that feeds them, you are a coward.

lesroe
lesroe

@AndyMills If you think the members of the military should decide which orders to obey and which orders to ignore, then we live under a nation ruled by the military and not the civilians who were elected by the people.  These are fundamentals you should have learned in elementary school.

daena.vassar
daena.vassar

@AndyMills While I agree that the war was started on a lie, it was not this Navy Seal's place to make the stand.

He is indeed a hero for being exceptionally good at what he did and from the looks of it, a stand-up guy.

lesroe
lesroe

@AndyMillsYou ungrateful, selfish little boy. The world is unsafe and countries maintain military to fight for their country. The military fights the war the politicians start. Little, little boy, if you are upset, make your voice heard in the political arena, do not disparage the soldier doing his job who is far more of a man and a human being than you will ever be, because he fights for the right of little cowards like you to voice your ignorant, selfish, petty, stupid, uniformed opinions. Grow up.

sebastionkain
sebastionkain

@SamuelClemens you clearly do not understand either God nor the basic principles of the republic in which we live, but you sure like to enjoy the goodness that comes from them.  Sometimes, in order for there to be peace and prosperity, there first must be war.  And a soldier who follows any lawful order is considered just.  Please if you think this country is so bad, you are free to try out any other you think is better.

lesroe
lesroe

@SamuelClemens See my answer to AndyMills you fool.  Sorry, I thought people learned these fundamentals by the third grade.

dreamon
dreamon

more like rest in pieces

reinertangle
reinertangle

@DarwinAkbar 

So forget your Western way of life and move you & your family to the "suburbs" of Iraq. It is the simple FACT that heros like Chris preserve our way of life, Western Democracy, free speech and the Freedom that comes with it. It is really quite simple... If you don't like our political / military views, move... or grow up and appreciate what these soldiers do for us.

Chard
Chard

@lesroe @Chard And you have reading comprehension problems. I pity your ignorance. 

DarwinAkbar
DarwinAkbar

@lesroe @AndyMills 

How is AndyMills any of the things you said? YOU are the one who is ignorant and stupid and uninformed! IRAQ was a war started on a LIE. If another country invaded the US, would you not fight back against the invader? Would you not shoot the soldiers of the invading army? This is what Iraqis were doing, fighting the invader. How on earth was Chris Kyle "fighting for our rights"? We have freedom of speech before went into Iraq, and we still have freedom of speech in spite of it. All Western countries have freedom of speech. The last time we justifiably went into a war in which we were actually defending our freedom was World War 2, and that is a very long time ago.

Frank_Sturgis
Frank_Sturgis

@reinertangle @DarwinAkbar Right, if it wasn't for the military, Saddam would have come over on a boat and told us all what we could say.  It's hard to believe that you're intelligent enough to use a computer, yet there is your comment.

lesroe
lesroe

@DarwinAkbar I don't think @DarwinAkbar learned his fourth grade government fundamentals.

JosephMateus
JosephMateus

Lesroe, if you are a man, forget it, don't bother responding to this. But if you are a woman please let me know as I want to know you better and I want to see more photos of you so I can see what you really look like.

Chard
Chard

@lesroe @Chard And you are so impossibly stupid that you actually think I am attacking Chris Kyle. Amazing. Please go eat more fast food and watch more television so that one day scientists can study the effects of complacency on your pea brain.

lesroe
lesroe

@Chard @lesroe Ahhh, you are so brave attacking a war hero who is one hundred times the man and human being you will ever be.  You can go on and on, but everyone already sees that you are of no consequence.  Go on and play like a spoiled little boy now.

Chard
Chard

@lesroe @Chard You got me all wrong. I am so grateful for your childhood learning disabilities as I have been spoiled to death by your severely limited vocabulary. My opportunistic enjoyment of your adorable attempts at ad hominem, however, is admittedly a bit petty...

lesroe
lesroe

@Chard @lesroe Ungrateful, spoiled little boy, go spew your petty comments elsewhere.

Chard
Chard

@lesroe @Chard Apparently you are interested enough in them. I therefore accept your concession that you are a no one. A no one with access to no more than a half dozen adjectives.

lesroe
lesroe

@Chard @lesroe No one is interested in your ugly, ignorant, ungrateful, spoiled, pampered comments.

JosephMateus
JosephMateus

Lesroe, are you a man or a woman? I am very intrigued looking at your picture. It seems I see a lot of hair all over in your picture; If you are a woman, you must be very hot and very wild. if you are a man, then you look totally terrible and horrible.

Chard
Chard

@lesroe @Chard No one is interested in your trade school education. Maybe I'm asking for too much from you...forget about the book. Just lose some weight so you can use a real photo of yourself instead of that lion you use to symbolize the power you lack in this world. 

lesroe
lesroe

@Chard @lesroe Ugly little boy, I have more academic degrees than you - take your ungrateful, pampered, spoiled attitude elsewhere.

lesroe
lesroe

@Chard @lesroe Small, ugly, ignorant boy - take your ungrateful attitude elsewhere, you pampered, spoiled little baby.


lesroe
lesroe

@DarwinAkbar @lesroe @AndyMills 

Ahhh!  You open your feeble little brain to spew more ignorance.  So, you suggest that US soldiers, who have been trained with billions of taxpayer dollars, should decide which orders to take from politicians and which to ignore.  So if half of the military does not like an order from the current Commander-in-Chief they should ignore it and fundamentally reconstruct the relationship between the President, Congress and the military.  Please, pick up your fourth grade Government text book so you can understand how your government works.  Fool.

dreamon
dreamon

sticks and stones BTW you defend a murderer/terrorist. Remember the only difference between a terrorist and patriot is the governing party .Useless craker could only shoot at defenceless people and GOT SHOT................COWARD!


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