Alleged accomplice charged with murder in shootout with former CNN reporter

Skyy Barrs
Skyy Barrs

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department has arrested a man they say caused the death of 27-year-old Tomorio Walton. Walton was shot and killed by a former CNN correspondent during a robbery last week at the Motel 6 on Coors and I-40 last week.

Skyy Durrell Barrs, 30, was arrested Thursday.

“You can’t even air my reaction. Really, you can’t,” explained former CNN Headline News anchor Lynne Russell. “These people are responsible for my husband’s near death,” she told KRQE News 13.

On June 30, CNN anchor Lynne Russell said Walton forced her into her motel room at gunpoint, where her husband, former CNN reporter Chuck de Caro was shot. Walton demanded some of their belongings, but got angry when it took them too long and started shooting. De Caro shot back, killing him.

“I remember his eyes that I, you know, would be taken aback by his gun,” Russell recalled. “And he put a hand on my side and shoved me very hard into the room, and I was airborne, landed on the bed, and he came in and closed the door and just stood there with that gun,” she said.

According to a criminal complaint, surveillance video shows Barrs parking at the Motel 6. The video shows his accomplice, Tomorio Walton, getting out of the car. An informant tells APD the two were there that night to “hit a lick,” which is slang for robbery. The surveillance video shows Walton approaching Russell.

She went to the car to get dog food for their Weimaraner. She appeared to be alone, but the crooks had no idea her husband, former special forces member, was in the motel room taking a shower. The family had two legal concealed firearms with them in their room.

“I put the food down in a plastic container and unlocked the door and reached down the pick up the food and around the corner comes this a–hole,” Russell said. “And I saw his gun.”

Forced in the room for seven minutes, Russell recalled, “He kept saying ‘I want goods and I want stuff.’ Nothing specific, so I said, ‘How I about this?’ I offered him some medicine. He said, ‘I don’t want that. I want goods and you’re going to give it to me.'”

Walton got irritated with how long it took for the couple to round up all of their valuables. Meantime, Russell slipped her husband one of their guns from the nightstand.

Walton’s next move would mean the convicted felon would soon be a dead man.

“He grabbed my husband’s briefcase and headed for the door, and for a second, I thought, ‘Good, he’s just going to leave,’ but that’s not what happened,” she said. “He turned around and he fired on my husband. He walked closer to him and fired on him. And my husband returned fire,” said Russell.

“My husband fired until his gun was empty,” she explained. “Again, stark naked and dripping wet,” Russell added.

Cameras caught Barrs checking on Walton’s body in the parking lot, and then taking off. That informant told APD Skyy Barrs used Tomorio Walton as one of his ‘”slaves.”

“Nobody made this man do anything. That’s ridiculous,” Russell said. “He’s nobody slave. The man is standing there holding a gun. Why should he train it on me? Let him train it on a guy who’s making him a quote slave. That’s not that kind of slave,” the former Headline News anchorwoman said.

De Caro was shot three times and is expected to recover.

“My husband is doing better, thank God. He had some really difficult times. There was one time, one night when we thought we were going to lose him, but he’s coming alone fine, and it has reinforced my belief in the Second Amendment,” she said.

Police say Barrs was in on the robbery and that text messages between the two verify that.

Russell, a Manzano High School graduate, reinforced that she still is a fan of the Duke City despite the trouble they encountered.

“I still love it. I really do. It just needs to be cleaned out of all the scum, and the police department is doing a wonderful job,” she said.

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