San Antonio psychiatrist questions motive in sniper shooting

Dr. Harry Croft examines post-traumatic stress disorder motive in fatal Navy Seal shooting


Dr. Harry Croft, author of the newly released I Always Sit With My Back To the Wall, is examining the motivations of the shooter who fired the deadly point-blank shots at Navy Seal sniper Chris Kyle over the weekend. 

He says the accused shooter was a Marine and would not fit the profile of a PTSD patient alone, especially since he allegedly killed a fellow veteran who was at the gun range offering help.

"Either it was drugs or alcohol or some sort of co-existing psychiatric illness, depression psychosis, manic episode, paranoid disorder, something in addition to his PTSD," said Croft.

He said a Marine would never shoot a veteran in the back, especially if help was being made available.

Kyle was a renowned sniper, but also worked to offer support to fellow PTSD sufferers, a job that is now believed to have put him in the crosshairs of the Eddie Routh in Erath County, Texas.

Another man, Chad Littlefield, was also shot.

He is basing his opinion on more than 7,000 veterans that he has seen in his practice dating back 20 years.

Croft says although PTSD patients do have the potential to exhibit violent tendencies, it is usually limited to domestic violence at home, or to the patient themselves in the form of suicide.

"Agitation (or) irritability can be one of the symptoms of PTSD, but generally, it does not go to violence and certainly not to murder like this," he said.

Croft's book on the neurological disorder that can be brought about in combat situations deals with ways in which to manage PTSD through specific approaches for both the veteran and their family.

He says group therapy is most successful in turning back the paranoia and other symptoms.

He now worries that his work encouraging employers to hire PTSD veterans will be damaged by the murder, and the stigma associated with it will broaden.

"We need to be worried for people who suffer from PTSD," he said. "I don't think we need to be worried that they're going to do this. I think we need to be worried that society treats them right, that they get the help they need at the VA or where else and that they get the support they need."

For more information on the illness and Croft's work, visit www.drcroft.com.

About the Author: