A Nashville man has been charged with murder after he shot a 26-year-old ICU nurse on her way to work.
The Metro Nashville Police Department said Devaunte Lewis Hill, 21, was arrested for the December 3 death of Caitlyn Kaufman, 26. Hill, who faces a felony homicide charge, was arrested Friday morning by members of the SWAT team at his home in East Nashville after authorities received a tip from a “concerned citizen.” Hill and Kaufman did not know each other, police said.
“While it was a relief to be able to sign the arrest warrant, it was an exceptional relief to be able to call [Kaufman’s mother] Diane Kaufman, who is back in Pennsylvania right now, ”Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said at a press conference Friday. “Obviously there were a lot of tears, just joy. She said she was able to secure a fence before the funeral.
Kaufman’s mother also expressed her gratitude, saying the Tennessean that she has “a range of emotions right now” but is “so relieved”.
“Part of me is so relieved that they got it. I just get chills every time I think about it, ”she says.
Authorities say Kaufman was on his way to work at St. Thomas West Hospital when shots were fired at his Mazda CX-5 SUV on a Nashville freeway. She was scheduled to work at 7:00 p.m., but a MetroParks agent discovered her body inside the car at around 9:00 p.m.
Kaufman was shot in the shoulder and died at the scene, police said.
“She was a dedicated and much appreciated member of our MICU team and a courageous health heroine who has been graciously called to serve our patients with compassion and kindness,” said Saint Thomas spokesperson Michelle Heard in a statement. communicated last week.
The murder sparked national outrage and prompted Nashville business owners to pool a reward of $ 50,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction. It was then raised to $ 66,000.
Drake said a “major break” in the case came on Thursday afternoon, after the award was announced, when the “concerned citizen” came forward to suggest Hill was the suspect. The citizen, who has not been identified, also gave information about the weapon used in the murder.
Police recovered the weapon hours later, which ballistics experts said was “100%” from three 9mm shell casings found at the scene, according to Drake. He added that electronics experts said Hill’s cell phone was near the freeway the night Kaufman was killed.
Drake said Hill admitted his involvement in the crime after his arrest, but declined to give details of the confession or any possible motive.
After the arrest, Saint Thomas West Hospital issued a statement in which they hoped “justice for Caitlyn’s family will be done.”
“Those who knew Caitlyn Kaufman witnessed the overwhelming compassion and kindness she showed for everyone she cared for and worked with during her two years in the ICU at Saint Thomas Ascension Hospital. West, “the statement read.
Kaufman is the third Saint Thomas West nurse to be killed in the past four years. In December 2016, Ashley Brown, 26, was strangled and beaten to death – before her body was found in a trash can near Centennial Park. The matter is not resolved and a reward for information amounts to $ 100,000. A year later, intensive care nurse Tiffany Ferguson, 23, was stabbed to death in her condo. Her killer, Christopher McLawhorn, is serving a life sentence.
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