Investigation begins into Navy SEAL's murder

Credit: Erath County Sheriff

Eddie Ray Routh was booked on capital murder charges in Erath County.

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by WALT ZWIRKO

WFAA

Posted on February 4, 2013 at 2:53 PM

STEPHENVILLE — The suspect who killed former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and another man at an Erath County gun range on Saturday used a semi-automatic handgun, investigators said at a Sunday afternoon news conference.

They could not say whether suspect Eddie Routh owned that weapon.

Routh, a 25-year-old Iraq war veteran, was moved early Sunday to a jail in Stephenville, where he is being kept in a cell by himself for observation. He was said to have asked for the necessary paperwork to provide a court-appointed attorney.

Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant offered a detailed timeline of what happened Saturday at Rough Creek Lodge, a resort located 53 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

At 3:15 p.m., Chris Kyle, Chad Littlefield and Routh enter Rough Creek Lodge and go to a remote shooting range. "To my knowledge, this was the first time they were to gether at the gun range," Bryant said.

At 5 p.m., a hunting guide at the lodge finds the victims, who appear to have been shot and killed. He calls 911 and deputies arrive to confirm the deaths. It is quickly determined that the suspect took Kyle's distinctive black pickup truck, and a bulletin is issued for that vehicle.

Eddie Routh drives to his sister's home in Midlothian and tells her and his brother-in-law what he had done. He leaves, and she notifies police.

Police find him at his home in Lancaster around 8 o'clock, along with Kyle's pickup truck. Lancaster police, Dallas County Sheriff's deputies, the Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies surround the house, make contact with Routh and begin to talk with him.

"At some point, he was able to leave the home and get back in the vehicle and leave," Sheriff Bryant said. He was unable to explain how Routh was able to get away, but it led to a pursuit.

"Around 9 p.m. they spiked his tires, the vehicle was stopped, and he was apprehended without any scuffle or fight," the sheriff said.

Routh was transferred to Erath County early Sunday morning and charged with one count of capital murder and two counts of murder, although District Attorney Alan Nash said the eventual charges will be two counts of capital murder. Bond was set at $3 million.

Investigators said they had yet to develop a motive for the crime, and that Routh has not admitted or confessed to the murders.

"Basically, we have two victims and one suspect in custody and now is when the work starts," said sheriff's department investigator Jason Upshaw.

"Our overarching goal is to seek justice," Nash added, noting that additional official information would be minimal. "If we work through [the news media] instead of the court process, it taints the process."

"It's a sad day," Upshaw noted. "We lost two American heroes. My heart goes out to the families and their loved ones."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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