Jeff Fielder and two friends thought they were going to have a nice, relaxing weekend in the country out in Glen Rose at Rough Creek Lodge, the conference center and hunting resort where two men were killed last Saturday afternoon, ever so tragically. We now know that Eddie Routh allegedly shot and killed retired Navy Seal and war hero Chris Kyle, his friend Chad Littlefield, and drove off from Rough Creek in Kyle’s pick-up truck to his sister’s house, where he turned himself into police.
“We were just saying, isn’t is so great how peaceful it is out here,” says Jeff. “You don’t hear planes, sirens, it’s just so peaceful.”
Then they heard an ambulance.
At the time of the shooting, about 3:15 p.m., Jeff was enjoying a drink on the back patio.
“We saw a hunting party and we heard gunfire,” he says.
But that was not unusual at Rough Creek, an 11,000 acre ranch where people go to hunt deer, boar, skeet, frolic on ATVs, swim, shoot, golf. So the party of three hit the ATV trail about 4 pm. At 5:30, when they came back in to the main lodge, they noticed the commotion and thought perhaps a hunter had been injured. Kyle, Littlefield and Routh had been alone in a Rough Creek gun range when Routh allegedly shot both of them, then fled. Rough Creek employees found their bodies, administered CPR and called for help.
“We got back when CareFlight was arriving,” says Jeff.
They had no idea that a double homicide had just taken place until hours later when a friend sent a message through Facebook. Phone service tends to be a bit spotty out there, so they weren’t checking phones for news. They watched the ten p.m. news that night and got the whole story of what had just happened in their peaceful, sprawling weekend back yard.
I guess you cannot escape violence and ambulances even in second home environments. Sometimes, when we are down in Johnson City, I feel the same way — utter, sheer peace. How easily that is fractured.
The Rough Creek staff, says Jeff, was extremely professional and didn’t mention the tragedy unless asked about it. News media hung out in front of the huge ranch gates, which staff manned to keep shut. On Sunday, Jeff and friends left those gates after staff opened them, and headed to town for breakfast where everyone, the entire town, was talking about the tragedy, devastated.
“It was surreal,” says Jeff. “Surreal.”