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A grand jury has indicted two men suspected in last year’s deadly highway shooting of Tennessee nurse Caitlyn Kaufman.
Kaufman was fatally shot on Dec. 3, 2020 in while en route to a shift at St. Thomas West hospital in southwest Nashville where she worked. She was found behind the wheel of her Mazda CX-5 on the shoulder of Interstate-440 West near Nashville shortly before 9 p.m.
A bullet struck Kaufman in her left shoulder, fatally wounding her, a medical examiner concluded, according to the Tennessean. She died approximately 15 seconds after being shot, the newspaper reported. She was 26.
“She did not have time to call 911,” homicide detective Chris Dickerson of the Metro Nashville Police Department said at the time.
Following Kaufman’s shooting, a statewide manhunt for suspects in the case ensued. Hill was taken into custody on Dec. 11 by a SWAT team. He later made statements to investigators implicating himself in the suspected shooting, officials said.
Cowan was apprehended on possession of suspected narcotics and firearms at Nashville apartment complex by undercover agents on Jan. 12. He was hit with a dozen charges, including drug trafficking, gun possession, and several parole violations.
Authorities suspect Hill and Cowan, who are acquainted, were together at the time of Kaufman’s shooting. Cell phone records ultimately tied Hill and Cowan to the shooting, investigators said.
“Analysis of cell phone data by MNPD electronics experts puts both men in the area of the crime scene when Kaufman was killed,” Metro Nashville Police Department previously said in a statement.
A tipster also informed authorities as to the whereabouts of the suspected firearm Hill used in the killing.
“The gun was test-fired at the lab, and scientists reported a 100% match,” police said in an earlier press release.
No motive was immediately released following Kaufman’s death late last year.
“She loved life,” her mother Diane Kaufman told CBS Pittsburgh earlier this month. “Her motto was YOLO, you only live once. And she lived life to the fullest. She truly was the light of my life.”
Kaufman had worked at Saint Thomas West since December 2018, according to her social media profile.
“She was a great nurse,” Diane Kaufman added. “She was truly in her element down there.”
The Tennessee nurse worked “tirelessly” on the frontlines at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a GoFundMe page set up in her memory.
“Caitlyn embodied what it means to be a nurse in both her professional and personal life,” the crowdfunding page said.
Kaufman is originally from Pennsylvania. She attended Clarion University.
“I still can’t make sense of it,” Diane Kaufman said. “They left her to die. I don’t know how you can live with yourself.”
Her family said Kaufman had a “wonderful sense of humor.”
“She just had a and she laughed all of the time and loved making people laugh,” Diane Kaufman recalled.
Both Cowan and Hill are expected to appear in court on June 3, CBS Pittsburgh reported.
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