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Police seek second suspect in random shooting of Nashville COVID nurse

Man, 28, is named as second suspect in random killing of COVID nurse, 26, who was shot dead in her car while she was driving to work in Nashville

  • Nashville police on Wednesday identified James Edward Cowan, 28, as a suspect in December 3 killing of nurse Caitlyn Kaufman 
  • There is arrest warrant out charging Cowan, who remains at large, with criminal homicide
  • On December 11, police arrested Devaunte Lewis Hill, 21, in connection with Kaufman’s seemingly random killing 
  • Police investigation found Cowan and Hill know each other and a cell phone analysis puts both men near the crime scene
  • Kaufman, 26, was on her way to work at a hospital when her car was struck by gunfire and she died moments later
  • There is a $5,000 reward from ATF for information leading to Cowan’s arrest  

Police in Nashville are hunting for a second suspect in the fatal shooting of a COVID nurse on Interstate 440 last month.

An arrest warrant has been issued charging James Edward Cowan, 28, with criminal homicide in the purportedly random killing of Caitlyn Kaufman, Metro Nashville Police said in a statement on Wednesday. 

Kaufman, 26, was shot dead on December 3 as she drove to work at St. Thomas West Hospital. No motive has been given in the shooting.

Caitlyn Kaufman

Nashville police are looking for James Edward Cowan, 28 (left) after identifying him as a second suspect in the December 3 killing of nurse Caitlyn Kaufman (right)

On December 11, police arrested Devaunte Lewis Hill, 21, in connection with Kaufman's seemingly random killing

On December 11, police arrested Devaunte Lewis Hill, 21, in connection with Kaufman’s seemingly random killing

Devaunte Lewis Hill, 21, was arrested on December 11 on a criminal homicide charge in connection with Kaufman’s death.

A police investigation found that Cowan and Hill know each other and a cell phone analysis puts both men in the area when Kaufman was shot at 6pm, authorities said.

On Thursday, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation added Cowan to its most wanted list. He is described as 5-foot-10 and weighing 170lbs.  

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to Cowan’s arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call police. 

Police previously said they do not believe Hill knew Kaufman prior to the shooting.

Kaufman's grey Mazda CX5 SUV, pictured, was struck by gunfire on Interstate 440 west

Kaufman’s grey Mazda CX5 SUV, pictured, was struck by gunfire on Interstate 440 west

The first break in the case came 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. 

Kaufman, 26, was on her way to work at a hospital when she was shot and died within moments

Kaufman, 26, was on her way to work at a hospital when she was shot and died within moments 

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. 

Detective Christopher 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. 

Hill was arrested by police acting on a tip from a concerned citizen who identified him as a suspect in Kaufman's death

Hill was arrested by police acting on a tip from a concerned citizen who identified him as a suspect in Kaufman’s death 

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. 

Colleagues at Ascension Saint Thomas paid tribute to Caitlyn as a ‘courageous healthcare hero’ during the pandemic and ‘a dedicated and much-loved member of our [Medical Intensive Care Unit] MICU team…who was graciously called to serve our patients with compassion and kindness.’   

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