Three Truths

Lynn Russell is a former cable news anchor.  Her husband, Chuck de Caro, is also a former journalist.

lynn russell and chuck de caro

They are a great deal more than that, however.  Ms. Russell is also a private investigator, has two black belts in karate, and served as a reserve Deputy Sheriff for ten years.  She also writes books, both novels and her memoirs.

Mr. de Caro is a former member of the 20th Special Forces Group, learned how to fly military fighter jets while a civilian, and consults with the US military concerning the use of media as a form of warfare.  He is also a lifelong shooter, which is nothing less than one would expect from such a resume.

The couple were taking a road trip from Washington, DC to California when fatigue came upon them.  They stopped at an inexpensive hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico and settled in for the night.  But Ms. Russell had forgotten something in the car, and was followed back to her room by a gun wielding criminal.  He forced the woman inside before demanding cash and valuables.

According to this news report, the Ms. Russell and Mr. de Caro worked to distract the criminal.  It didn’t take long before Mr. de Caro managed to procure a 9mm handgun.  What ensued is what I like to call a “elevator gunfight”, as the two blazed away at one another from  barely more than touching distance.

revolver muzzle flash

The end result is that Mr. de Caro was struck three times, but is expected to survive.  The criminal was also wounded, and he ran from the room only to collapse and die in the parking lot.

I believe that second guessing the people who were actually involved in such a situation is wrong, particularly because it seems they did better than could have been expected.  But there are still lessons to be learned from the tale.


We have all seen it in the movies.  Some punk with a handgun accosts the martial arts hero, only to have his firearm deftly taken away.

karate gun disarm

Ms. Russell seems to be in excellent physical condition for a woman of her age, and her bio suggests that she has received extensive training in unarmed defensive techniques.  But that doesn’t mean much when a mere twitch of a finger can result in a fatal wound.

This leads to the next point I want to make.


The violent felon in this case carried out his plan to threaten and rob two innocent people, using the threat of deadly force to get his way.  He continued on this path until met with equal force, except the erstwhile victim was more skilled at dealing damage.


The movies delight in depicting a hero with a handgun, dispatching scores of evil henchmen by shooting each with a single round.


It is certainly possible to stop a violent criminal attack with a single round from a handgun, but that is not the way to bet.  Most justified shootings actually end the way this did, with the wounded criminal running a away for a distance before collapsing from blood loss.  As I teach my students, keep shooting until they drop out of your sight picture, they run away, or you run out of ammo.


If anyone has anything else to add, then please share with us in the comments.

6 thoughts on “Three Truths

  1. I’m really glad they both survived it. In that kind of wild shootout, she could easily have caught a stray or two and died. It’s also a blessing that he survived despite being hit three times.

    • Hmm. Seems to have been a petty career criminal who refused to keep out of trouble. This appears to be the first time he was caught using violence in the commission of a crime.

      The way he went about the burglary indicates to me that he had done this sort of thing before in that he targeted elderly travelers from out of state. If the victims had been unarmed, he would have netted a tidy profit.

      • It may not have been the first. There were a rash of armed robberies in that area, I read, and he may have been responsible.

        I suspect the fact that he was black is the reason the police were so reticent to releast his identity once they got it. Trying to avoid a “Black lives matter” riot. Though this would have been a pretty tought case for the activists to try to claim the perp was an innocent victim, considering what he did and how.

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