The funeral procession for slain former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle has ended its 200-mile journey at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.
About 200 motorcycles, motor coaches, police cruisers and other vehicles made the trip Tuesday from Midlothian. That's the small town 25 miles southwest of Dallas where the 38-year-old Kyle lived with his family.
Along the way, two Patriot Guard Riders crashed along the rain-slicked highway near Salado and were hospitalized after Navy SEALs provided first aid. The conditions of the riders, at this time, remain unknown.
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After the delay, the procession continued south to Austin where the white hearse carried Kyle's flag-draped coffin into the cemetery.
Kyle was considered the deadliest sniper in the history of the U.S. military. His book "American Sniper" recounted his efforts in the war on terror and in Iraq.
Kyle and friend Chad Littlefield were shot multiple times at a remote shooting range Feb. 2. A man has been charged in their deaths.
North Texans Say Goodbye as Procession Heads to Austin
North Texans lined the roadways and overpasses to pay their respects to slain ex-Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle Tuesday morning, part of a 200-mile procession that carried Kyle from Midlothian to Austin.
The procession began at about 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Midlothian ISD's multipurpose stadium at 1800 South 14th Street. From there, the procession was scheduled to take U.S. 287 to Interstate 35E south to Texas State Cemetery in Austin where Kyle will be laid to rest.
“It’s all about paying honor, respect, and dignity to Chris Kyle and his family,” said Lonny Haschel, with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Dozens of Motorcycle officers from across the Metroplex led the way for Chris Kyle’s final journey. Two-by-two, Patriot Guard Riders rode along in the procession to honor the Navy veteran.
Police asked onlookers to use access roads or overpasses to watch the procession instead of stopping along the highway.
Carley Rodermund stood on the onramp to 287 with her family to support Kyle’s wife and two small kids.
“I just wanted to come out and support that amazing family,” said Rodermund. “Seeing her salute as she came by today, it was really heart-wrenching.”
Rodermund held the American flag and her hand over her heart. She broke down as the hearse passed. The widow rolled down the window and saluted the crowd, there to honor her husband, his life and sacrifice.
“I think it’s wonderful that they're honoring this man. So I think it's, I think it's beautiful,” said Midlothian resident Gina Lowman.
"It's a small town so everybody knows and everybody cares for everyone, even if they don't know each other they don't hesitate to help,” said Midlothian resident Ana Juarez.
Military personnel, first responders and the Patriot Guard Riders will escort the procession. Dan Mathys is one of the more than 200-plus invited by Kyle's family to take part in the memorial.
"Chris Kyle's mission is the biggest mission we've ever done," Mathys said. "We've done big missions in the past. We hear riders are coming in from all over the country. Florida, Montana, let alone the military and the public being invited to this memorial service is something we've never seen before."
Kyle, a Midlothian grad, was one of the top sharp-shooting snipers in U.S. history, survived four deployments and died investigators believe trying to help a fellow vet with PTSD.