(CNN) – Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin spoke out Sunday about the death of Chris Kyle, who was killed at a Texas gun range Saturday.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and many friends of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle tonight," Palin said in a statement posted on her Facebook page.
She explained that she and her husband, Todd, first met Kyle in Pella, Iowa, when he helped out with security for the premiere of "The Undefeated," a documentary about Palin that debuted in June 2011.
"Later we became friends with Chris when he was on 'Stars Earn Stripes' with Todd," she said, referring to the NBC reality show in which competitors took on missions based on military exercises.
"Chris was a wonderful man, a good friend, and a true American hero who loved our country and served honorably," she continued. "He was loved and admired by so many, and he will never be forgotten."
Police arrested suspect Eddie Ray Routh, 25, after a brief pursuit. He is facing two counts of capital murder, the Texas Department of Public Safety said.
Like Palin, Kyle, 38, was a staunch supporter of Second Amendment rights and opposed recent calls for an assault weapons ban and limits on firearms.
He wrote the best-selling autobiography "American Sniper." In it, he declared himself the "most lethal sniper in U.S. history" and claimed more than 150 sniper killings in Iraq, which he described as a record for any American. He said insurgents placed a bounty on his head and nicknamed him "the devil."
Kyle served four combat tours in Iraq and received two Silver Stars, among other commendations. He left the Navy in 2009.
- CNN's Ashley Killough, John Branch, AnneClaire Stapleton, and Josh Levs contributed to this report.