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1,000s expected to attend ex-sniper's memorial

Feb. 11, 2013 - 11:26AM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 11, 2013 - 11:26AM  |  
Former Navy SEAL and author of "American Sniper" Chris Kyle poses in Midlothian, Texas, on April 6. A Texas sheriff has told local newspapers that Kyle was fatally shot with another man on a gun range Feb. 2.
Former Navy SEAL and author of "American Sniper" Chris Kyle poses in Midlothian, Texas, on April 6. A Texas sheriff has told local newspapers that Kyle was fatally shot with another man on a gun range Feb. 2. (Paul Moseley / The Fort Worth Star-Telegram via AP)
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People wait in line Feb. 11 to attend a memorial service for Christopher Kyle at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Thousands are expected to attend the public memorial service for Kyle, the former Navy SEAL sniper who was shot to death at a Texas shooting range. (Brandon Wade / AP)

ARLINGTON, Texas — Several hundred people are gathering at Cowboys Stadium before the start of a memorial service for Chris Kyle, the slain former Navy SEAL sniper.

Some in the somber crowd carried flower bouquets while waiting to enter the stadium Monday.

Air Force Master Sgt. Kevin Phillips said he wasn't surprised by the large turnout. He came from his Fort Worth home to honor "a brother in arms."

Phillips and many others in the crowd never knew the 38-year-old Kyle, who authorities say was killed last week at a North Texas shooting range by a former Marine whom Kyle was trying to help.

Another Iraq War veteran, 25-year-old Eddie Ray Routh, has been charged in the killings of Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a gun range Feb. 2. Routh is being held in Erath County on $3 million bond.

Kyle will be buried at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin after a 200-mile funeral procession starting in the Dallas area Tuesday morning.

The director of the nonprofit that Kyle set up to give in-home fitness equipment to physically and emotionally wounded veterans has said that Kyle and Littlefield apparently had been helping Routh work through post-traumatic stress disorder.

Kyle, Littlefield and Routh were all together Feb. 2 when they arrived at the shooting range at Rough Creek Lodge, about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth, authorities say. Routh later fled the range in Kyle's truck and went to his sister's home.

According to a search warrant, Routh told his sister and brother-in-law that the men "were out shooting target practice and he couldn't trust them so he killed them before they could kill him." Routh's sister called the police, describing her brother as "psychotic." Routh was arrested after a short police chase.

Routh's brother-in-law told authorities that Routh had recently been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. One of Routh's attorneys, J. Warren St. John, said his client had been released from the Dallas Veterans Affairs hospital against his family's wishes just two days before the shootings.

Littlefield's funeral was held Friday in Midlothian, where he and Kyle were neighbors. After the funeral, Littlefield's relatives said the men's outing with Routh was intended to be therapeutic.

Littlefield's father-in-law, Tom Montgomery, said Kyle regularly took veterans to the shooting range, and that Littlefield often assisted in efforts to help veterans.

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