2 dead, 1 arrested in gun range shooting
GLEN ROSE, Texas, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- A highly decorated former Navy SEAL and a second man were shot to death at a gun range in Texas and police said they arrested the suspected gunman.
WFAA-TV, Dallas, reported Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant said Chris Kyle, a 38-year-old retired SEAL sniper with the most confirmed kills and the author of the book "American Sniper," was at the gun range at Rough Creek Lodge near Glen Rose with a neighbor when the suspected gunman, Eddie Ray Routh, turned his gun on them and shot the men in the back about 3:30 p.m. Saturday local time. The name of the second victim hadn't been released.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Routh, 25, allegedly fled in a pickup truck belonging to one of the victims but was arrested about 5 hours later about 70 miles away in Lancaster, southeast of Dallas.
Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant told the Fort Worth (Texas) Start Telegram investigators had not determined a motive for the shootings.
"Not a clue, absolutely no idea," he said.
WFAA-TV said Routh, a former Marine, was said to be dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Kyle, who served in Iraq, was awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, the Star-Telegram said.
He was credited with an astonishing 255 kills during his tours of Iraq and Afghanistan, with one sniper shot having hit its mark from 1.2 miles away.
Panetta says Republicans out to get Hagel
"It's pretty obvious that the political knives were out for Chuck Hagel," Panetta said on NBC's "Meet the Press," after being asked about the negative comments by GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Marco Rubio of Florida following Hagel's confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week.
Panetta, who said he believes Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, is fully prepared to take his place, was disappointed that the hearing concentrated on past issues.
"But what about what a secretary of defense is confronting today," he said. "What about the war in Afghanistan? What about the war on terrorism?"
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he was surprised some issues, including Afghanistan, were not discussed in depth.
Dempsey also said Hagel has been very well-prepared and thoughtful in his dealings with him.
"I'm not going to speak about confidence. He could be my boss. And when is the last time you saw a subordinate discuss their confidence in their potential boss?" Dempsey said. "But I think he's got great credentials, my personal contacts with him have been very positive. And if he's confirmed, I look forward to working with him."
Kelly: Include mental illness in checks
WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Former U.S. astronaut Mark Kelly said Sunday states should enter mental conditions into the criminal background check system to help prevent mass shootings.
Kelly's wife, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was the target of multiple death threats after voting for healthcare reform in the House. She was seriously wounded Jan. 8, 2011, at a public event outside a supermarket near Tucson when a gunman shot her in the head, killed six others including a federal judge and a child, and wounded 13. She resigned her congressional seat last year to concentrate on her recovery.
In an appearance on Fox News "Sunday," Kelly said Jared Loughner, the shooter, had been expelled from Pima Community College because of his mental illness.
"If his condition was entered into the system, into the criminal background check system, and he went to do that background check, I would assume that he would have been rejected [for a weapon]," Kelly said. "So, in the case of Jared Loughner, if Arizona would have entered 121,000 records that they had not entered into the system, if his record was one of those ... he probably would have been rejected."
In addition to making sure states enter mental illness information and require universal background checks, Kelly said he'd like to see legislation passed to prevent guns from holding too many rounds. He said if the gun Loughner used during his wife's shooting held 10 rounds instead of 33, it would have made a difference.
"As he tried to reload one 33-round magazine for another 33 round magazine, he dropped the magazine, and that gave time for a woman named Patricia Maisch to grab it and it gave time for a couple of people to restrain him," Kelly said.
"If, let's say, for a second, that that was a 10-round magazine and the same thing happened, you would have had a lot less people shot and a lot less people murdered."
Loughner is serving life in prison without parole.
Multination Iran nuclear talks to resume
MUNICH, Germany, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Multinational talks over the fate of Iran's nuclear program are set to resume later this month, German and U.S. officials confirmed.
The United States, Germany, France, Great Britain, China and Russia all will participate in negotiations with an intermediary of Tehran's foreign ministry with the hope of securing an end to Iran's nuclear enrichment process.
The Iranians have long claimed their nuclear ambitions are aimed at domestic energy production, not creating a nuclear weapon but have continually stymied international efforts to monitor the program and facilities.
The negotiations will take place starting Feb. 25 in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet bloc republic, The Guardian of London said Sunday.
Experts told the paper if these negotiations are to succeed where others have failed, the NATO allies must be clear in what they are willing to give Iran in exchange for specific progress in slowing its nuclear ambitions.
Vali Nasr, a former state department adviser and now dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Washington, said: "It will not be useful to go back with the same offer. There now has to be a serious conversation between the U.S. and the Europeans to get their ducks in a row. They have to be clear on what the Iranians will get in return for doing X, Y or Z."
Still, Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at an international conference in Munich, Germany, said U.S. participation is contingent only on Iran's actual dedication to talks.