Devaunte Hill, 21, and James Cowan, 28, are facing murder charges in the deadly shooting of Caitlyn Kaufman, who was gunned down while driving to work

By KC Baker
May 21, 2021 01:25 PM
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Caitlyn Kaufman
Caitlyn Kaufman
| Credit: Facebook

The two Tennessee men who were arrested in December for allegedly shooting and killing a nurse on her way to work have been indicted for murder.

On Thursday, a grand jury indicted Devaunte Hill, 21, and James Cowan, 28, on first-degree murder charges, a Davidson County Court Clerk confirmed to PEOPLE.

The indictments stem from the Dec. 3, 2020, shooting death of Caitlyn Kaufman, 26, of Lebanon.

Shortly after 6 p.m. that night, Kaufman was heading to her shift at St. Thomas West Hospital, where she helped treat COVID-19 victims, when at least six shots were fired at her SUV, the Metro Nashville Police Department said at the time.

According to the medical examiner, one of the bullets hit her in the left shoulder, killing her within 15 seconds, the Tennessean reports.

Her bullet-ridden Mazda CX-5 SUV rolled to a stop on the right shoulder of I-440 west and was still running when the officer stopped to check on it, NBC News reports.

Caitlyn Kaufman Nashville nurse
Caitlyn Kaufman's car
| Credit: Nashville Metro Police Department

Inside, he found her body slumped over the wheel.

On Dec. 11, a SWAT unit with the Metro Nashville Police Department arrested Hill. Cowan was arrested on Jan. 12.

Devaunte Hill - James Cowan
Devaunte Hill and James Cowan
| Credit: Metro Nashville Police Department

Cellphone data put both suspects at the crime scene, the MNPD said.

Court testimony in January suggested that the two men charged in the murder of Kaufman may have shot at her out of road rage after being cut off on I-440, WZTV and the Tennessean report.

The suspects remain held at the Davidson County Jail without bond. They are scheduled to return to court on June 3 and have not yet entered pleas. Their attorneys did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's requests for comment.

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Kaufman's family and friends are still reeling from her loss.

"Why did you do that to her?" her distraught mother, Diane Kaufman, said at a December press conference, KDKA reports. "She didn't deserve it. I don't, I can't, I can't wrap my head around it. I don't know how someone can take another person's life like that."

According to her Facebook profile, Kaufman, who was from Chicora, Pa., had been working at St. Thomas West Hospital since December 2018.

She graduated from Clarion University in Pennsylvania, where she was a member of the women's swimming and diving program, according to ExploreClarion.com.

"She was a very compassionate young lady, had a heart of gold, and was on her way to work to help people," her mother said at the press conference.