A 26-year-old ICU nurse was fatally shot while driving to work on a Tennessee highway Friday night, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department reports.
A Nashville Parks police officer saw Caitlyn Kaufman’s car against a guard rail on Interstate 440 on the west end of the city shortly before 9 p.m. and stopped to assist, thinking it was a single car accident.
The officer discovered Kaufman in the vehicle with at least one gunshot wound and called for assistance. Kaufman was pronounced dead at the scene.
MNPD said detectives believe Kaufman was on her way to at 7 p.m. shift at Ascension Saint Thomas West Hospital when shots were fired into her SUV between 6 and 6:30 p.m. The Nashville Tennesseean reported that detectives had gotten multiple tips Friday night and were following all of them, but so far there’s no suspect or motive for the shooting.
Kaufman’s aunt, Glenda Lee Kaufman, released a statement to the newspaper on behalf of the family:
“We will forever miss your beautiful face, your love you had for everyone you cared for, your laugh and your smile. You lived your life to its fullest and achieved everything you worked so hard for. We will forever miss you. We love you.
“Please if you know who did this or know any information, please reach out. We will not rest, until this person is brought to justice for taking our Loving Caitlyn.”
Kaufman’s Facebook page said she had worked at St Thomas’s Intensive Care Unit since 2018 and was originally from Chicora, Pennsylvnia, about 50 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. She was a star diver at Clarion University in Pennsylvania.
Michelle Heard, a hospital spokeswoman, said that the facility would be providing support services for Kaufman’s fellow employees.
“She was a dedicated and much loved member of our MICU team and a courageous health care hero who was graciously called to serve our patients with compassion and kindness,” Heard said. “Our hearts and prayers go out to her family, friends, and you, her colleagues, as we all grieve her heartbreaking passing.”
Clarion University Sports Information Director Sean Fagan also released a statement, telling WKRN that Kaufman “embodied all of the characteristics of a model student-athlete while a member of the women’s swimming and diving program. 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 difficult time.”
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[Featured image: Caitlyn Kaufman/Facebook]