A former CNN reporter was wounded three times Tuesday night during a deadly shootout with a man who allegedly tried to rob him and his wife in a New Mexico motel room.
Chuck de Caro and his wife, former Headline News anchor and CNN correspondent Lynne Russell, were on a road trip and spending the night at an Albuquerque motel when de Caro killed the man during what Russell called an attempted robbery.
Albuquerque police said they have yet to question de Caro, who had surgery for his wounds.
Officer Fred Duran said no charges were expected to be filed against de Caro. Russell said her husband fired in self-defense.
“I am really proud of him,” Russell said. “I thank him over and over for saving my life. He really is my hero.”
Russell said a gunman came into their Motel 6 room through the open door after she had just returned from getting something out of the car. The man pushed her into the room.
De Caro, who worked at CNN in the mid-1980s as special assignments correspondent, was coming out of the bathroom after taking a shower and saw Russell being held at gunpoint.
“He tried to change the guy’s mind,” Russell said.
The gunman wanted money and other valuables, she said.
She told the gunman she would look in her purse to see what they had. She reached down and put one of the two handguns the couple had in a side table into the purse. She gave the handbag to her husband.
Russell said the guns were legal, something police are still investigating.
The man’s behavior was increasingly erratic, Russell said. He told them to get a briefcase he saw.
The couple explained there was nothing of value in the bag, but the man lunged at them and “went around the bed and then opened fire on Chuck. There was a firefight inside the room.”
De Caro was shot once in the leg and twice in the abdomen.
He fired all the rounds in the first handgun then picked up the other and shot the man. The man, who police identified in a news release as the “offender in the altercation,” was found in the parking lot. He died at a hospital, CNN affiliate KOAT reported.
Russell, who worked for Headline News (now HLN) from 1983 to 2001, said the couple was heading to California and, after stopping in Albuquerque to have dinner with friends, they decided to get a motel room. They chose Motel 6 because it allows dogs, she said.