FORT LEE, N.J. -- A married pair of former CNN employees who were the victims of a push-in armed robbery at a Motel 6 in New Mexico have enlisted a Fort Lee law firm in the hopes that their experience will make traveling safer.
Lynn Russell, the first female anchor at CNN (1983-2001), and her husband, Charles "Chuck" De Caro, a former correspondent for the network, were at a Motel 6 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on their way last June from Washington, D.C. to a National Guard base in Los Alamedas, Calif., when the trouble happened.
Russell, who was born and raised in the Newark area, was a deputy sheriff in Fulton County, Georgia. De Caro, a onetime U.S. Army Special Forces member, works as a consultant for the Defense Department. Both hold firearm carry permits.
Russell said she and De Caro put their bags in their room and their guns on a nightstand when her husband took a shower. While waiting, she went to retrieve a bag of dog food from the car.
On her way, she noticed a man "leaning against the wall and texting on his phone," she said. He asked for a cigarette, but she didn't have one. "I just thought he was a guest there and didn't think much of it."
When she returned to the room, Russell said, he suddenly came up from behind and ordered her onto the bed at gunpoint.
Hearing the commotion, De Caro emerged from the bathroom.
"I thought quickly," Russell told Daily Voice.
Emptying her purse on the bed, she told the intruder to "take everything."
He was rifling through the dumped-out contents when Russell retrieved her bag and slipped her .390-caliber Ruger from the nightstand into it. Then she handed the bag to her husband.
"Take a look inside and see if there is anything else in there to give him," she told him.
De Caro pulled out the gun and the robber immediately shot him three times in the abdomen.
De Caro squeezed off several shots himself, hitting the intruder -- who stumbled into the parking lot, where accomplices were waiting. He died there.
Russell said she yelled for help in the hallway but no one responded, so she called 911 herself. A security guard finally showed up, she said.
Russell said she later learned that Motel 6 facilities throughout the U.S. had over 1,000 problem calls to the police within the past five years for robbery, assault, drugs and prostitution. It employed an independent firm called G4S USA Security.
Russell and De Caro claim that security guards weren't checking people roaming the halls or waching the monitors. They chose the Fort Lee law firm Maggiano, Digiralamo and Lizzi to represent them in the hopes that Motel 6 makes its facilities and so guests could be made more aware.
"Trust is a major issue when you choose a place to stay," said DeCaro, has been spending time in New Jersey for visits to Hackensack University Medical Center, where he's being treated to blood clots in his legs caused by the shooting.. "A false sense of security can result in these types of actions occurring."
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