ALPINE, Calif. - Friends of slain former U.S. Navy SEAL and author Chris Kyle spoke with 10News on Sunday about how they are remembering him.
Kyle, 38, and his friend 35-year-old Chad Littlefield were fatally shot at a Texas gun range on Saturday evening.
Kyle and his family lived in a quiet Alpine neighborhood until a few years ago. On Sunday, 10News spoke with people who knew Kyle well: his former neighbors.
"A friend of ours that had heard about it called us and called my wife," said Trapper Ballard.
Ballard and his family lived next door to Kyle and his family for several years on a quiet street in Alpine.
The news that his former neighbor and good friend had been killed was devastating.
"He was helping a Marine with... at least from what the news was saying, with PTSD through some therapy and he was just really giving back and that's a testament to him," Ballard said.
By now, Kyle's story as the sniper with the most kills in American history is well-known.
Ballard said during Kyle's 10 years in the service, he was decorated with two Silver Stars. However, it was Kyle the neighbor that Ballard and his family will remember.
"When he came home, he didn't talk about that," said Ballard. "He didn't brag. He was humble. He was just the guy next door. I mean, we did life together."
Ballard said that life included lots of get-togethers. Kyle's children Colton and McKenna are close in age to Ballard's kids. It was in those family connections and remembering those special times that brought a flood of emotion to Ballard.
"Our kids are about the same age and you know, we were over there when they had kids and we helped them out and they did the same for us," he said as he choked back tears.
Ballard is a veteran himself. He served as a pilot in the Navy. He knows what it is like for his family when he is away. But for the family of a Navy SEAL like Kyle, it is different.
"There were a lot of times she didn't know where he was," said Ballard. "He might have just gotten out of a battle and he's kind of gruff on the phone. Well, you know there's a reason why. I mean, just think about doing that for six months to a year. That is an unbelievable toll."
Ballard told 10News the main reason he agreed to speak about his good friend is that he wanted everyone to know that along with being an amazing Navy SEAL, Kyle was a family man who left the service so he could be close to his wife and children.
Kyle will be buried in Texas where he was born and grew up.