Albuquerque police spokesman Fred Duran told The Washington Post that at this time, no charges are expected to be filed against de Caro who, Russell said, shot at the gunman in self-defense.
“I am really proud of him,” Russell told CNN about her husband. “I thank him over and over for saving my life. He really is my hero.”
Russell told the Albuquerque Journal she had left the motel room to get something from her car when a man grabbed her at gunpoint and forced her back into the room. She said de Caro, who had been in the shower, walked into the room and tried to talk to the man.
Russell said he told them his girlfriend had been kidnapped and demanded money or valuables. De Caro “tried to change the guy’s mind,” she said.
Both de Caro and Russell have concealed weapons permits, according to the Albuquerque Journal, and their guns were stashed in the nightstand. Russell said she grabbed a gun, slipped it into her purse and passed the purse to de Caro.
Soon after, the gunman spotted de Caro’s briefcase, she said, and when de Caro told him there was nothing valuable in it, he opened fire. She said de Caro dove behind a piece of furniture and fired back.
“It was a shootout,” she told the newspaper. “When Chuck exhausted the weapon, he was bleeding profusely.”
Officers responded to the scene and found de Caro inside his motel room and the suspect in the parking lot, police said in a statement. Police said both men fired multiple rounds and sustained gunshot wounds.
De Caro was hit twice in the abdomen and once in the leg, according to reports. Russell told reporters he was taken to a nearby hospital, where he underwent surgery. He is expected to survive, she said.
Police said the suspect, whose name has not yet been released, was taken to a hospital and he died.
“They weren’t targeted for who they were,” Albuquerque police spokesman Tanner Tixier told the Associated Press. “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 anchored CNN’s Headline News from 1983 to 2001, according to her LinkedIn page.
De Caro, a U.S. Army veteran and national security strategist, was a correspondent for CNN for several years in the 1980s.
[This story has been updated.]