...Years after those alleged killings, Kyle had another story to tell. This one referred to the vacuum of authority in New Orleans following Katrina, when the city slipped into chaos. According to the New Yorker and several military publications, Kyle and a few other SEALs drank late in San Diego late one night in early 2012. “The SEALs began telling stories, and Kyle offered a shocking one,” the New Yorker reported. “…He and another sniper traveled to New Orleans, set up on top of the Superdome, and proceed to shoot dozens of armed residents who were contributing to the chaos.” The magazine said one conversation participant said Kyle “claimed to have shot thirty men on his own,” while another said Kyle and the other killed 30 between them.
When the New Yorker’s Schmidle called the U.S. Special Operations Command for confirmation, he didn’t get any. Then one of Kyle’s officers told the reporter, “I never heard that story.”
Does that mean it didn’t happen? Who knows. It’s certainly possible that Kyle killed two Texan thieves and their bodies disappeared. And it’s also possible Kyle killed 30 armed assailants in New Orleans to protect its residents in Katrina’s aftermath. But it’s also possible Kyle couldn’t let go of his own legend, and, in a haze of post-traumatic stress, let his tales veer into untruth.
Even now, more than a year after Kyle was killed by a fellow veteran at a Texas shooting range, the most important aspect of his myth remains unclear. His book says the Navy confirmed he killed 160 in Iraq.
Kyle, for his part, claimed he killed 255.