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Saturday, 12 December 2020

Man, 21, is arrested by SWAT team 'for shooting dead COVID nurse, 26,' as she drove to work in Nashville

 Police in Nashville this morning arrested a 21-year-old man who they say randomly shot and killed a COVID nurse as she drove to work last week. 

Members of the Nashville Police Department's SWAT team acting on a tip apprehended 21-year-old Devaunte Hill at his home in Berkshire Place Apartments at 6.15am on Friday. 

Hill was booked into the Davidson County Jail on charges of criminal homicide and assault causing bodily harm in connection with the December 3 killing of 26-year-old Caitlyn Kaufman. He was being held without bond. 

Metro Police Chief John Drake said at a press conference announcing Hill's arrest that the suspect made statements to detectives that implicated him in Kaufman's murder. 

This photo shows homicide suspect Devaunte Hill, 21, being arrested by Nashville SWAT team members on Friday for the killing of nurse Caitlyn Kaufman

This photo shows homicide suspect Devaunte Hill, 21, being arrested by Nashville SWAT team members on Friday for the killing of nurse Caitlyn Kaufman 

Kaufman, 26, was on her way to work on December 3 when she was struck by gunfire in her car and died moments later
Hill, Kaufman's accused killer, is pictured in his mugshot

Kaufman, 26 (left), was on her way to work on December 3 when she was struck by gunfire in her car and died moments later. Hill, Kaufman's accused killer, is pictured in his mugshot, right 

Kaufman was on her way to her night shift at St Thomas West Hospital in Nashville a week ago when her car was struck by gunfire, killing her almost instantly.  

Police said they do not believe Hill knew Kaufman prior to the shooting.

A break in the case came on Thursday evening, when a concerned citizen contacted the authorities and identified Hill as a suspect in the killing. The caller also provided information that led detectives to the purported murder weapon, a 9mm handgun. 

Ballistics experts analysed the gun and found that it was a '100 per cent match' to the shell casings that were recovered on Interstate 440 after Kaufman's death. 

Investigators used Hill's cellphone data to place him in the vicinity of the crime scene, according to police. 

Authorities noted that the tip that resulted in Hill's arrest came within an hour of an announcement that the reward for information in this case had been increased to $65,000. 


Investigators said they arrested Hill (right) after getting a tip from someone who identified him as the suspect and led them to the murder weapon

Investigators said they arrested Hill (right) after getting a tip from someone who identified him as the suspect and led them to the murder weapon 

Kaufman's mother, Diane, told The Tennessean from her home in Pennsylvania that she was relieved to learn of Hill's arrest. 

'A part of me is so relieved they got him,' she said. 'I just get chills every time I think about it.' 

Records indicate that Hill has a prior criminal history in Tennessee dating back to at least 2018, which includes charges of assault causing bodily injury, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving on a suspended license, reported WKRN.  

Police on Friday said they have not ruled out the possibility of additional arrests in connection to Kaufman's killing.    

Detective Dickerson previously said six shots were fired at Kaufman's grey Mazda CX5 SUV on Interstate 440 west on the evening of December 3 and she was killed within 15 seconds of being struck by a bullet that entered her left shoulder. 

He added: 'Caitlyn didn't have time to get to her cellphone to call 911.'

ICU nurse Caitlyn managed to pull her grey Mazda CX5 SUV, pictured, over to the side of the road on Interstate 440 west. Police approached her car around 8.25pm after finding it on the hard shoulder and called for back-up

ICU nurse Caitlyn managed to pull her grey Mazda CX5 SUV, pictured, over to the side of the road on Interstate 440 west. Police approached her car around 8.25pm after finding it on the hard shoulder and called for back-up

Kaufman died of her injuries at the scene. It is not yet known why her car was targeted

Kaufman died of her injuries at the scene. It is not yet known why her car was targeted

Police said Kaufman and Hill did not know each other prior to the attack
Caitlyn Kaufman is pictured

Police said Kaufman and Hill did not know each other prior to the attack. They have not ruled out additional arrests in this case 

Caitlyn's mother, Diane, 55, said prior to Hill's arrest: 'I'm reaching out to you and pleading out as her mother to help me find out who did this to my daughter. My heart is shattered'

Caitlyn's mother, Diane, 55, said prior to Hill's arrest: 'I'm reaching out to you and pleading out as her mother to help me find out who did this to my daughter. My heart is shattered'

Kaufman had been due to start her shift at 7pm on December 3 and was believed to have been on time, leading Nashville Police to estimate the time of the attack to between 6pm and 6.30pm.

After being shot, Kaufman managed to pull her SUV over on the right shoulder of the road against the guard rail between the Hillsboro Pike and West End Avenue exits. 

A Metro Parks officer stopped around 8.25pm to investigate why her vehicle was parked on the right shoulder of Interstate 440, believing it was a single-car crash. 

Her mom Diane said Monday: 'Why did you do this to her? She didn't deserve it. 

'I can't wrap my head around it. I don't know how someone can take another person's life like that. She was on her way to work. It wasn't like she was doing anything maliciously.'          

Kaufman had been due to start her shift at 7pm on Thursday and was believed to have been on time, leading Nashville Police to estimate the time of the attack to between 6pm and 6.30pm

Kaufman had been due to start her shift at 7pm on Thursday and was believed to have been on time, leading Nashville Police to estimate the time of the attack to between 6pm and 6.30pm

After being shot, Kaufman managed to pull her SUV over on the right shoulder of the road against the guard rail between the Hillsboro Pike and West End Avenue exits. A Metro Parks officer stopped around 8.25pm to investigate why her vehicle was parked on the right shoulder of Interstate 440, believing it was a single-car crash

After being shot, Kaufman managed to pull her SUV over on the right shoulder of the road against the guard rail between the Hillsboro Pike and West End Avenue exits. A Metro Parks officer stopped around 8.25pm to investigate why her vehicle was parked on the right shoulder of Interstate 440, believing it was a single-car crash

Colleagues at Ascension Saint Thomas paid tribute to Caitlyn as a 'courageous healthcare hero' during the pandemic and 'a dedicated and much-loved member of our [Medical Intensive Care Unit] MICU team'

Colleagues at Ascension Saint Thomas paid tribute to Caitlyn as a 'courageous healthcare hero' during the pandemic and 'a dedicated and much-loved member of our [Medical Intensive Care Unit] MICU team'

Colleagues at Ascension Saint Thomas paid tribute to Caitlyn as a 'courageous healthcare hero' during the pandemic and 'a dedicated and much-loved member of our [Medical Intensive Care Unit] MICU team...who was graciously called to serve our patients with compassion and kindness.' 

GoFundMe to help Caitlyn's family has raised more than $38,000 as of Wednesday morning.  

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