ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Two former CNN journalists are suing Motel 6, saying one of the budget chain's Albuquerque inns didn't do enough to ensure their safety the night a man tried to rob them and an exchange of gunfire ensued.
Chuck de Caro and Lynne Russell also argue Motel 6's famous motto — "We'll leave the lights on for you" — misrepresented the dangers at the Albuquerque location and contributed to a false sense of security when they checked into their room for a night's stay in June.
"All I can say is we were under the impression we were in a safe place and it turned out we were not," Russell said Friday. "This is a story of disappointment and misplaced trust."
Motel 6 did not return a request for comment responding to the lawsuit.
De Caro and Russell, of West Virginia, contend that had the motel implemented 24-hour, real-time monitoring of surveillance cameras, staff could have stopped the intruder before he reached the couple's room.
Surveillance video showed Tomorio Walton, a 27-year-old convicted felon, forcing his way into the room and spending about seven minutes inside.
The Motel 6 where the couple stayed is a "haven for crime," and officers have responded hundreds of times to calls at the location in the last five years, said Randi McGinn, the couple's attorney.
Court records show the couple's complaint was filed Tuesday in New Mexico district court in Albuquerque.
On June 30, de Caro, a former CNN reporter, shot and killed Walton after he entered their room, demanded valuables and fired his weapon, police said.
De Caro, who was wounded in the shooting, has been in and out of the hospital since June. On Friday, he was expected to be released from a Virginia hospital after recently being treated for a pseudoaneurysm, said Russell, a longtime CNN anchor.
She appeared on Headline News nightly for much of the 1980s and through the 1990s. She retired from CNN in 2005. De Caro, an investigative reporter for CNN, became a consultant for the Pentagon. Both have permits to carry concealed weapons.
In July, a man accused of being an accomplice of Walton's was indicted on attempted first-degree murder, aggravated burglary, kidnapping and other charges. Authorities accused Skyy Barrs, 30, of conspiring with Walton to rob Russell and de Caro. A jury trial for Barrs is scheduled for July.
This story has been corrected to show the former CNN journalists' names are Chuck de Caro and Lynne Russell, not Chuck DeCaro and Lynne Russel.