A second man is now being sought by police in connection to the killing of a Tennessee nurse who was mysteriously gunned down while driving to work in early December.
Nashville police announced Wednesday that they have identified James Edward Cowan, 28, as the second suspect in the deadly shooting of Caitlyn Kaufman. A homicide warrant has been issued for his arrest.
On Dec. 3, Kaufman’s grey Mazda CX-5 was found resting against a guard rail on the shoulder of Interstate 440, authorities said. The 26-year-old Nashville nurse’s body was found inside, having been shot multiple times. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police believe Kaufman was gunned down shortly after 6 p.m. while traveling to a shift at a city hospital where she worked.
A SWAT team captured 21-year-old Devaunte Lewis Hill roughly a week after the killing. Hill, who has since been charged in Kaufman’s murder and assault causing bodily harm, allegedly implicated himself under police questioning. He’s being held without bond at a Davidson County detention center, according to online jail records.
Investigators suspect Cowan was with Hill at the time shots were fired at Kaufman’s car. The two men know each other, authorities 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 said in a statement Wednesday.
The manhunt for Cowan is ongoing. Authorities haven’t released a possible motive in Kaufman’s killing and it’s unknown if her fatal shooting was a targeted or random attack.
Don Aaron, a police spokesperson, declined to comment on the investigation when contacted on Thursday.
Kaufman is originally from Pennsylvania, according to law enforcement. She worked as an intensive care nurse at St. Thomas West hospital in southwest Nashville. The young healthcare professional was on the frontline during much of the COVID-19 pandemic, her family said.
“Caitlyn was loved by many and will be sorely missed by all,” they said on a GoFundMe page.
Kaufman is the hospital’s third nurse to be murdered in the past four years, according to WZTV.
Cowan has an extensive criminal record dating back to at least 2009, court records obtained by Oxygen.com show. He has a series of prior convictions, including robbery, firearm and drug possession, as well as contributing to the delinquency of a minor. In 2019, he was found guilty of evading arrest. His lawyer for that case, William T. Edwards, said he no longer represents Cowan.
“My only advice to him would be to turn himself in,” Edwards told Oxygen.com on Thursday.
Cowan is listed as armed and dangerous. A combined $6,000 reward has been issued by federal and local law enforcement agencies for information regarding his whereabouts. Anyone with information related to the case is urged to contact Nashville Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.
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