NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Officers with the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) have arrested a 21-year-old man suspected of killing a nurse on a local highway as she drove to work earlier this month.
Caitlyn Kaufman, 26, was shot and killed on Interstate 440 on Dec. 3 as she drove to her job at St. Thomas West Hospital. Her death shocked the city of Nashville and garnered national attention.
On Friday morning, MNPD Chief John Drake announced that SWAT members took 21-year-old Devaunte L. Hill into custody earlier in the day without incident at Hill's East Nashville apartment. Hill has been charged with criminal homicide.
Police said Hill and Kaufman did not know each other prior to the shooting.
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
Drake said police caught a break in the case within an hour of a $50,000 reward being announced for information leading to an arrest earlier this week.
“I understand many of those persons involved in the rewards are dads who have families in Nashville and love Nashville deeply. And I thank them for their contribution," Drake said.
Drake said a concerned citizen came forward Thursday afternoon and identified Hill as a suspect. That person also provided information as to the whereabouts of a firearm that police say was used in the killing.
Police recovered the gun later that night and called in ballistic experts to do an immediate analysis. Drake said the gun was test-fired and had a “100% match” of the three 9 mm shell casings found at the scene.
Drake said that additionally, electronic experts were able to identify Hill’s cell phone number and determined that his phone was in the vicinity the night Kaufman was killed.
According to police, Hill implicated himself in the killing during a consented interview with homicide detectives; however, police did not elaborate on the nature of those implications.
Kaufman was on her way to work on December 3 when police say she was shot and killed in her SUV on Interstate 440. She was a nurse in the Saint Thomas Hospital West ICU.
Earlier this week, her mother, Diane Kaufman, spoke during a MNPD press briefing and asked for the Nashville community's help to find her daughter's killer.
Lead Detective Chris Dickerson said he spoke with Diane Kaufman following Hill's arrest this morning and said she expressed her gratitude to everyone on the case. Kaufman returned to their Pennsylvania home on Thursday to prepare for Caitlyn's funeral, which is on Saturday.
The investigation remains ongoing. Police said they cannot rule out additional arrests in the case.
“We’re not going to rule anything out,” Detective Dickerson said. “We’re going to continue with the investigation."
This story was originally published by Laken Bowles on WTVF in Nashville.