Snejana Farberov, Daily Mail, December 11, 2020
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.
BREAKING: Devaunte L. Hill, 21, is in custody for the murder of Nashville nurse Caitlyn Kaufman. MNPD SWAT members arrested him at 6:15 a.m. at his East Nashville apartment. He is being charged with criminal homicide. pic.twitter.com/lJ6LMHy8v7
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) December 11, 2020
#BREAKING: Metro police have arrested Devante Hill, 21, for the murder of Nashville nurse, Caitlyn Kaufman. The 26-year-old was fatally shot as she drove on I-440 to work at St. Thomas West the night of Dec. 3. pic.twitter.com/5cmPx1zwfN
— Josh Breslow (@JoshBreslowWKRN) December 11, 2020
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.
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.
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.’
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.