ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Former CNN reporter and national security consultant Chuck de Caro and his wife, former CNN anchor Lynne Russell, are returning to Albuquerque for the first time since a shootout in a Motel 6 that nearly cost de Caro his life.
The couple is set to give two speeches at the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s annual conference.
“Lynne and I are coming down to speak about the effects of the information age on terrorism,” de Caro said in a phone interview with KRQE News 13. “ISIS in all its forms, DAESH, uses video as its primary strategic weapon and once you understand that, you begin to see their vulnerabilities.”
“I think there are aspects of this thing that I normally do for the Pentagon that could be useful for homeland security on a local basis in New Mexico.”
Those speeches are being given free of charge as a way to attempt to make the city and state where the couple faced death a safer place to be.
That incident happened last June when de Caro and Russell were travelling through Albuquerque and stopped at the Motel 6 near Coors and I-40 to spend the night.
Russell was held up in the parking lot by Tomorio Walton, a Tennessee felon who had absconded from parole, and forced into the couple’s motel room at gunpoint. Coming out of the shower, de Caro grabbed his gun and got into a shootout with Walton. Walton was killed, but not before de Caro took three bullets and nearly lost his life.
With a year’s worth of distance between him and that fateful night, de Caro says the effects are still felt by both himself and Russell.
“Physiologically… a lot of complications,” de Caro said. “Lynne on the other hand was four feet away from both of those muzzles and she was watching the bullets and watching me bleed and fall to the ground.”
In the weeks after that shootout, de Caro said he didn’t hold what happened against the city itself and repeatedly praised the first responders who saved his life.
The conference is at the end of the month and de Caro says he’s not afraid of making the trip back.
“No hesitancy at all,” de Caro said.