By: KDKA-TV News Staff
NASHVILLE (KDKA) - A 21-year-old man was arrested in Nashville for the murder of Caitlyn Kaufman, a nurse from Butler County who was shot and killed while driving to work in Tennessee.
Devaunte Hill was arrested by SWAT at 6:15 a.m. Friday at his East Nashville apartment. Police say the bullets from his gun match the shell casings found near Kaufman's wrecked SUV.
Police say they received more than 50 tips, but the one that broke the case wide open arrived late Thursday as the reward for information reached $65,000.
Police say a concerned citizen came forward identifying Hill as the suspect. That person told police about the 9 mm gun allegedly used in the murder and police tracked his cell phone to the area that night.
Hill is being charged with criminal homicide in connection with 26-year-old Kaufman's death.
She was shot and killed while driving down Interstate 440 in Nashville the night of Dec. 4, police said in a release. The Butler County native worked at St. Thomas West Hospital.
"While it was a relief to be able to sign the arrest warrant, it was an exceptional relief to be able to call Diane Kaufman, who is back in Pennsylvania right now," said Metro Nashville Police Department Lead Detective Chris Dickerson.
He went on to say, "Obviously a lot of tears, just joy. She said that she was able to get some closure before the funeral."
More than a week ago, an officer spotted Kaufman's vehicle on the side of the road around 9 p.m. and discovered that Kaufman had been shot. She died at the scene, officials say.
Police believe the shooting happened between 6 and 6:30 p.m. while Kaufman was on her way to the hospital for her 7 p.m. shift.
Police say Hill and Kaufman don't know each other and investigators haven't determined if road rage played a role. They say Hill implicated himself in the murder, and they can't rule out additional arrests.
KDKA talked to Kaufman's mother Diane earlier this week.
"Why did you that to her? She didn't deserve it. I don't, I can't, I can't wrap my head around it," she said. "I don't know how someone can take another person's life like that."
"Caitlyn was selfless, she was full of life, she lit up a room as soon as she walked into it," said added. "She had a contagious laugh. She had beautiful blue eyes and a heart of gold."
Earlier this week, Diane proudly talked about her young daughter's zest for life and love of nursing. The love that brought her down to Nashville for a job as an ICU nurse, but she didn't show up for her shift last Friday night.
"It was our normal everyday conversation. 'I'm on my way to work, mom.' 'OK, hunny.' She was fine. I had to get off of the phone and when I attempted to call her back there was no answer," said Diane.
Kaufman graduated from Butler Senior High School and Clarion University.
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Clarion University Athletics released a statement on Facebook, saying:
"Clarion University and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics are saddened to learn of the tragic loss of Caitlyn Kaufman. Caitlyn embodied all of the characteristics of a model student-athlete while a member of the women's swimming & diving team. She was a tenacious competitor, a supportive teammate and a dedicated student.
Our thoughts remain with Caitlyn's family as well as her former teammates and coaches during this incredibly difficult time."
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