Nightly News   |  February 04, 2013

Chris Kyle, celebrated sniper, killed by fellow soldier

Chris Kyle, a sniper in Iraq, was so feared that he was dubbed “The Devil of Ramadi” and had an $80,000 bounty on his head. Tragically, it wasn’t enemy fire that killed him, but a fellow soldier asking for help with PTSD. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> a lot of americans have read the book called "american sniper," written by former navy s.e.a.l. chris kyle , often referred to as america's best and deadliest sniper during his war-time deployments as a marine. chris kyle was killed this weekend in texas after he and a friend took a troubled fellow marine veteran for an outing at a shooting range . we get the story tonight from nbc's jim miklaszewski .

>> reporter: as a navy s.e.a.l. sniper in iraq, chris kyle was so feared, the enemy called him the devil of vermonty and put an $80,000 on his head.

>> tragically, it was back home where kyle and a friend were shot and killed. the suspect is a 25-year-old marine reservist, eddie ray roth. without warning, routh allegedly shot the two victims with a semiautomatic handgun . he's in custody facing two charges of capital murder . sheriff tommy bryant told reporters, routh turned on his guards overnight.

>> he became aggressive, and they believed he was about to assault them so they tased him and put him in restraint.

>> reporter: routh served two tours in iraq. once back home, his family reportedly feared he was suffering ptsd, post traumatic stress , and asked chris kyle for help.

>> some people are definitely coming back with ptsd. and i want to try to figure out everything i can do, possibly, to help those guys.

>> reporter: kyle felt helping veterans was his duty. and would take troubled veterans to a shooting range to blow off steam. that's apparently what kyle had in mind when he was shot and killed. it's called exposure therapy, where patients gradually confront their demons, but it can be dangerous. even deadly.

>> it's concerning that you would have someone exposed to weapons who may, in fact, be struggling with post traumatic stress , and, in fact, the weapon itself, for all we know, could be a trigger.

>> reporter: the entire u.s. military is struggling with serious mental health issues. suicide rates at all-time highs. and the veterans' affairs reports that 22 veterans a day are committing suicide , brian.

>> jim miklaszewski on duty for us at the pentagon tonight. jim, thanks.