NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A 26-year-old nurse who was employed with Saint Thomas West was found shot and killed inside an SUV along Interstate 440 in Nashville Thursday night.

A Metro Parks officer discovered Caitlyn Kaufman’s gray Mazda CX-5 in the westbound lanes between the Hillsboro Pike and West End Avenue exits just before 9 p.m.

The officer stopped to assist the vehicle, believing it was a single-vehicle crash, but then discovered bullets had been fired into the SUV, according to Metro police.

(Photo: WKRN)

Kaufman was pronounced dead at the scene.

Metro police said she was on her way to work at Saint Thomas West before her shift began at 7 p.m.

Detectives believe she was running on time and she was shot between 6 and 6:30 p.m.

Investigators are asking anyone traveling I-440 Thursday night during these times who may have seen something out of the ordinary to call Nashville Crime Stoppers at 615-74-CRIME.

nurse shot, killed along I-440
(Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)

The roadway was closed to traffic while investigators processed the scene. It reopened around 3 a.m.

Clarion University’s Sports Information Director, Sean Fagan, released the following statement to News 2:

“Clarion University and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is 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 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.”

Ascension Saint Thomas released the following statement to News 2:

We are devastated to learn of the tragic and sudden passing of our ICU nurse Caitlyn Kaufman. She was a dedicated and much loved member of our MICU team and a courageous healthcare hero who was graciously called to serve our patients with compassion and kindness. Our hearts and prayers go out to her family, friends, and you, her colleagues, as we all grieve her heartbreaking passing. Ascension Saint Thomas has Chaplains and other support resources available at sites of care for grief counseling.