911 Call Sheds Light on Texas Soldier's Mindset After Shootings
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A 911 recording and documents released Tuesday reveal more about the possible state of mind of the Iraq War veteran charged with gunning down a former Navy SEAL sniper and his friend at a Texas shooting range.
Eddie Ray Routh told his sister and brother-in-law that he and the two men "were out shooting target practice and he couldn't trust them so he killed them before they could kill him," according to a Lancaster police search warrant affidavit.
Shortly after the shootings, Routh's sister told a 911 operator that her brother had come to her house and confessed to killing two people and was "psychotic," according to a recording of the frantic call to Midlothian police.
Routh, 25, is charged with one count of capital murder and two counts of murder in the deaths of Chris Kyle, author of the best-selling book "American Sniper," and his friend Chad Littlefield on Saturday. He's jailed in Erath County on $3 million bail and is on suicide watch.
Laura Blevins told police her brother seemed "out of his mind saying people were sucking his soul and that he could smell the pigs. He said he was going to get their souls before they took his," according to the affidavit, which was first obtained by WFAA-TV. Routh told his brother-in-law, Gaines Blevins, that everyone was out to get him, according to the affidavit, which says Lancaster police obtained a warrant to search Routh's home for weapons and other evidence.
In the 911 call, obtained by The Associated Press, Gaines Blevins told the operator that Routh was released from a mental hospital about a week earlier and had been "acting a little weird." He also told the operator that Routh was recently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Routh was taken to a mental hospital twice since last fall and told authorities he suffers from PTSD, according to police records.
Routh, a member of the Marines Corps Reserve, threatened to kill his family and himself Sept. 2, according to police records in Lancaster, where Routh lives.
In a 911 call obtained by The Dallas Morning News, Routh's mom, Jodi Routh, told an operator in September that her son "probably needs to go to the VA to the emergency room and they need to admit him to the mental ward." Later, she said one of her son's Marine Corps buddies had taken weapons from the house for safekeeping.
Lancaster police took Routh to Green Oaks Hospital for psychiatric care. Dallas police records show Routh was taken to the same mental hospital in mid-January after a woman called police and said she feared for Routh's safety.
Green Oaks will not release patient information, citing privacy laws.
On Tuesday, Routh remained in his jail cell instead of meeting with his court-appointed attorney or relatives, Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant said in a telephone interview. Routh had demanded a cigarette in exchange for a meeting, but smoking isn't allowed in the jail, Bryant said.
The sheriff said he didn't know which relatives came to visit Routh in the jail in Stephenville, about 75 miles southwest of Fort Worth.
Kyle and Littlefield apparently had been helping Routh work through PTSD, said Travis Cox, director of FITCO Cares, the nonprofit that Kyle set up to give in-home fitness equipment to physically and emotionally wounded veterans.
Kyle, 38, 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. Littlefield, 35, was Kyle's friend, neighbor and "workout buddy," and also volunteered his time to work with veterans, Cox said.
Routh joined the Marines in 2006 and rose to the rank of corporal in 2010. His military specialty was small-arms technician, commonly known as an armorer. He had been stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and served in Iraq from 2007-08 and in the Haiti disaster relief mission in 2010. He is now in the individual ready reserve.
Associated Press writers Terry Wallace in Dallas; Jamie Stengle in Lancaster, Texas; Martha Waggoner in Raleigh, N.C.; and AP researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed to this report.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.