Former CNN Headline News anchor Lynne Russell and husband Chuck de Caro, also a former CNN reporter, were involved in a fatal shootout at a motel in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Tuesday.
Russell told reporters Wednesday that her husband decided to stop at a Motel 6 on Albuquerque's western edge because they were tired after a long day of traveling. When she went out to the car to get something and returned to the room, a man was at the door with a handgun.
"He pushed me into the room and that's when my husband came out of the shower and saw what was happening," Russell told Albuquerque station KOB-TV. "We tried to calm him, confuse him and do everything we could do to just come out of it in one piece."
After grabbing her husband's briefcase, the man started shooting at de Caro. Russell ducked behind the furniture and de Caro fired back, hitting the man. The robber was killed and de Caro was wounded.
Russell, a licensed private investigator, and de Caro, former Special Forces, were both legally carrying their own concealed weapons at the time.
"It was a gun battle, and Chuck was bleeding heavily, but he didn't stop firing because the man was firing on him," Russell told the New York Post.
Ted Kavanau, a manager for CNN at its founding and founding president of CNN Headline news, said Russell told him the robber staggered out of the room. Police officers responding to a report of shots fired found the body in a parking lot.
De Caro took three bullets, two to the abdomen and one to the leg, but avoided any fatal injuries. He was taken to the University of New Mexico hospital, where he underwent surgery and will continue to recover.
“I just admire him so much,” Russell said. “My husband is a hero because he really saved our lives.”
“I was determined to save my dream girl’s life — even if it cost my own,” de Caro said.
Albuquerque police did not release the name of the intruder, and a spokesman, Officer Tanner Tixier, said it appeared to be a random robbery attempt.
"They weren't targeted for who they were," Tixier said. "We believe the offender didn't realize the victim's husband was in the motel (room). He believed he had an easy target. That turned out not to be the case obviously."
Russell was a prominent figure in CNN's groundbreaking foray into around-the-clock news, serving as an anchor from 1983 to 2001. She was one of the first anchors hired at CNN Headline News, then called CNN 2, after it went on the air in 1982.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.