A road trip down old Route 66 led to a Wild West-style motel shootout for a pioneering CNN anchor and her former-soldier hubby.
Lynne Russell — the first woman to ever solo-anchor a primetime network news show — and Chuck de Caro, 65, had stopped at a Motel 6 for the night in Albuquerque when an intruder slipped into their room as Russell went to grab something from the car around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“I opened the door and he materialized out of nowhere; he was inside,” she told The Post. “And he pushed me into the room and onto the bed and closed the door.”
— Lynne Russell CNNHLN (@LynneRussellCNN) June 12, 2015
De Caro, who was in the shower, emerged completely naked and tried talking to the gunman, who was demanding the couple fork over their money and valuables.
“We tried to calm the man, ask him not to point the gun because we really couldn’t think what we could give him,” Russell said. “It felt to me he was used to doing this, that whatever happened wouldn’t bother him.”
De Caro stood in front of a nightstand, where they had placed their legal, .35-caliber handguns. When the thug grabbed a briefcase and began firing at him, De Caro shot back as Russell ducked behind a piece of furniture.
“It was a gun battle, and Chuck was bleeding heavily, but he didn’t stop firing because the man was firing on him, and he was looking for me,” Russell said.
De Caro was shot twice in the abdomen and once in the leg — but managed to kill the gunman with his return fire. The intruder fled the motel room and collapsed in the parking lot, where cops later found him.
De Caro, a former special forces officer who now works as a national security strategist, was “bleeding profusely” just after the shootout, Russell said.
He was rushed to University of New Mexico Hospital, where he underwent surgery and will continue recuperating for several days.
Russell credited her cool-headed husband with saving their lives, saying, “I just admire him so much.”
“My husband is a hero because he really saved our lives,” she gushed.
De Caro said he called upon his special forces training in the moment, and insisted there was “no way” he would’ve let the gunman harm his wife.
“I was determined to save my dream girl’s life — even if it cost my own,” he told The Post, adding that his injuries “hurt like hell.”
Cops say the shooting was justified.
“The police had to stay with him, keep me from going over to that man’s body and kicking the s–t out of him,” Russell said.
While she’s walked through some “horrific scenes” as a journalist, she said the bloody motel room was still a “shocking” sight.
“When these thing happen to you personally, it’s rough,” Russell said.
The shooting happened four days into the couple’s cross-country road trip from Washington, DC, to California.