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‘There Was A Lot Of Tears’: Suspect Arrested In Deadly Highway Shooting Of Nashville Nurse

Caitlyn Kaufman worked “tirelessly” on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic in southwest Nashville, her family said.

By Dorian Geiger
Devaunte Hill Arrested In Fatal Shooting Of Caitlyn Kaufman

 A suspect has been arrested in the shooting death of a Nashville nurse gunned down while driving to a hospital shift earlier this month. 

On the evening of Dec. 3, 26-year-old Caitlyn Kaufman's  Mazda SUV was found resting against a guard rail of a freeway. Kaufman, who’d been driving to work, was found fatally shot inside the vehicle.

A tip from a “concerned citizen” soon led to the swift arrest of Devaunte Lewis Hill, Nashville police said. Hill was apprehended by a SWAT team at his apartment in East Nashville on Friday morning, and he allegedly implicated himself in the crime while under questioning. Investigators suspect that the 21-year-old didn’t know Kaufman.

“Detectives from our Homicide Unit have worked around the clock pursuing the more than 50 Crime Stoppers tips and other leads in this case,” Police Chief John Drake said. “They were joined by scientists at our Crime Laboratory, MNPD electronics experts, and our partners at the FBI, ATF, and TBI. On behalf of Nashville, I am grateful to all of these men and women.” 

A motive hasn’t been released in the Nashville nurse’s slaying.

Devaunte Hill Pd

The tipster who pointed authorities to Hill also provided information as to the whereabouts of the firearm that was allegedly used in the shooting. 

On Thursday, detectives seized the 9mm pistol that Hill allegedly used in the homicide. A crime lab analysis of the gun matched it to three shell casings that were recovered from the shoulder of the road where Kaufman was shot. 

“The gun was test-fired at the lab, and scientists reported a 100% match,” police said in a news release.

Hill’s cell phone was also pinpointed as being within the vicinity of Kaufman the night she was killed, police said.

Officials, who said the case is open and ongoing, said that additional arrests could be made in the coming days.

“This investigation is continuing and cannot rule out the possibility of additional arrests,” Drake told reporters during a Friday press briefing.

Kaufman, an intensive care nurse at St. Thomas West Hospital in southwest Nashville, is originally from Pennsylvania, according to authorities.

“It was an exceptional relief to be able to call Caitlyn’s mother, Diane, in Pennsylvania this morning to tell her that an arrest had been made,” Detective Chris Dickerson said. “Throughout this investigation, we have felt the support of all of Nashville, and the strong support of the Kaufman family.”

A funeral was held for Kaufman over the weekend, police added. 

“Obviously there was a lot of tears,” Dickerson added. “Just joy. [Her mother] said that she was able to get some closure before the funeral.” 

Kaufman worked “tirelessly” on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic, her family said on a GoFundMe page. She’d worked there since December 2018, according to her social media profile

“Caitlyn embodied what it means to be a nurse in both her professional and personal life,” the fundraiser page said.

Hill is being held without bond at a medium-security metro detention center on homicide charges, pending a court date. He’s also been charged with assault causing bodily injury, online jail records show.

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