NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A tip from a concerned citizen led to the arrest of a man in connection with the murder of 26-year-old Tennessee nurse Caitlyn Kaufman.
Kaufman was in her vehicle on the way to work an overnight shift in the ICU at St. Thomas West Hospital Dec. 3 when she was shot multiple times.
At a press conference Friday morning, Chief John Drake said SWAT members arrested 21-year-old Devaunte Hill at 6:15 a.m. Friday at Hill’s East Nashville apartment. Hill is being charged with criminal homicide.
Metro police do not believe Kaufman knew the suspect prior to her death.
Hill was taken into custody without incident. He was taken to Metro police headquarters where he was interviewed by detectives assigned to the case.
According to Chief Drake, Hill made statements to the detectives that implicated him in Kaufman’s murder.
The tip implicating Hill in Kaufman’s murder came into police within an hour of Thursday’s announcement that the reward for information had increased to more than $65,000, $50,000 of which was donated by a coalition of Nashville business owners and entrepreneurs.
“I understand many of those persons involved in the reward are dads who have families in Nashville and love Nashville deeply. I thank them for their contributions,” explained Chief Drake.
A concerned citizen came forward Thursday afternoon, identified Hill as a suspect and provided information on the whereabouts of the 9mm gun used in Kaufman’s murder, according to Chief Drake.
Chief Drake said detectives located the gun and it was immediately inspected by forensic analysists. Analysists also test fired the gun at the crime lab and determined it was a 100% match to the three shell casings found along Interstate 440 the night Kaufman was killed.
Electronic experts were able to identify Hill’s cell phone number and provider, which detectives used to determine he was in the vicinity of the murder scene the night Kaufman was killed.
“While it was a relief to be able to sign the arrest warrant naming Hill at 3:37 [Friday] morning, it was an exceptional relief to be able to call Caitlyn’s mother Diane in Pennsylvania … to tell her that an arrest had been made,” lead Detective Chris Dickerson said. “Throughout this investigation, we have felt the support of all of Nashville, and the strong support of the Kaufman family.”
Diane Kaufman returned to her home in Pennsylvania from Nashville Thursday to prepare for Caitlyn’s funeral Saturday.
Hill was booked into the Downtown Detention Center on a criminal homicide charge. He is being held without bond pending a hearing.
According to records from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Hill has had multiple run-ins with law enforcement. In April 2018, Hill was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and in May 2018, Hill was charged with failure to be booked.
In January 2020, Hill was arrested and charged with assault that resulted in bodily injury and in August 2020, Hill was charged with driving on a suspended license.
Metro police said other suspects could be arrested in connection with Kaufman’s murder. You can watch the full press conference below.
Kaufman was shot and killed on I-440 last Thursday when someone opened fire on her SUV while she was driving to work at Saint Thomas West.
Investigators determined Kaufman was killed between 6:05 p.m. and 6:10 p.m. when at least six gunshots were fired into her SUV. The fatal shot entered her left shoulder and killed her within 15 seconds, according to the medical examiner.
Authorities believe she died too quickly to attempt to call 911.
A reward of more than $65,000 was offered for information leading to the arrest and successful prosecution of the person(s) responsible for Kaufman’s murder.
So far, more than $40,000 has been raised to help the family.