Chris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL and author of the book "American Sniper," was killed at a Texas shooting range on Saturday. / Paul Moseley, AP
The former Marine and Iraq War veteran charged in the killings of a former Navy SEAL sniper and his friend on a Texas shooting range had been taken to a mental hospital twice in the past five months and told authorities he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, law enforcement records show.
Eddie Ray Routh, 25, also told his sister and brother-in-law after the shootings that he "traded his soul for a new truck," according to an Erath County arrest warrant affidavit obtained by WFAA-TV. Police said Routh was driving the truck of one of the victims, former Navy SEAL and American Sniper co-author Chris Kyle, at the time of his arrest.
Erath County authorities have not given a motive for the fatal shootings Saturday of Kyle, 38, and Chad Littlefield, 35, at the Rough Creek Lodge west of Glen Rose.
Capt. Jason Upshaw if the Erath County sheriff's office told the Stephenville Empire Tribune on Monday that Routh was being segregated from other inmates, that there was no sign of a struggle at the scene and that it appeared the victims were target practicing when they were shot. "This is still under investigation, and I can't release any more details about the crime scene," he said.
Routh, of Lancaster, Texas, was arraigned Saturday evening on two counts of capital murder, according to Sgt. Lonny Haschel of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Routh was on suicide watch in Erath County Jail, where he was being held in lieu of a $3 million bond, Sheriff Tommy Bryant said.
Travis Cox, president of FITCO Cares, a non-profit organization founded by Kyle, told the Associated Press on Sunday that Routh suffered from PTSD and that Kyle and Littlefield had taken him to the gun range in an attempt to help him.
In his book American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, Kyle wrote of his more than150 kills in the Iraq War.
Harry Croft, a psychiatrist formerly with the Army who says he has evaluated about 7,000 veterans with PTSD, says it would be "extremely rare" for a PTSD sufferer to attack someone "outside of their own circle."
"Unless there's something else going on," says Croft, author of I Always Sit with My Back to the Wall, a book for PTSD sufferers and their families. "That something else might be drugs, alcohol or perhaps an underlying, co-occurring psychological disease, such as psychosis, paranoid disorder or severe bipolar disorder with psychosis."
The Texas shootings have stirred memories of other recent shootings at gun ranges.
It's difficult to determine how many people are killed annually at shooting ranges in the USA. Neither the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives nor the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting system specifically track shootings at gun ranges.
There have been at least seven fatal shootings -- intentional and accidental -- at gun ranges over the past several years.
Contributing: Kevin Johnson; the Associated Press
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Read the original story: Suspect in 'American Sniper' killings claims PTSD