‘Worst nightmare’: Mystery as Covid nurse, 26, shot dead in her car

Mystery surrounds the brutal slaying of a young intensive care nurse who was shot and killed in her car on the way to work.

Caitlyn Kaufman, 26, was gunned down as she drove to work at Saint Thomas West hospital in the US state of Tennessee.

She was on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic before her untimely death. Just days before she was killed, a fellow ICU nurse who worked at her same hospital passed away from Covid-19.

Ms Kaufman was found dead in her car on Thursday night (local time), the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department confirmed on Twitter. Police shared a picture of her car, with the windows appearing to be shot out.

Caitlyn Kaufman, 26, in. Facebook pictures.
There are no suspects after Caitlyn Kaufman, 26, was gunned down in her car. Source: Facebook

In a following tweet shared over the weekend, police asked for the public’s help, saying the gunfire that killed her likely happened between 6pm and 6:30pm as she travelled to work for a 7pm shift.

She began working at the hospital in December 2018, according to her Facebook page.

Family distraught over brutal crime

As of Sunday (local time), a motive in Ms Kaufman’s slaying had not yet been determined, leaving her family and colleagues distraught by the senseless crime.

Speaking to local media outlet, The Tennessean, her mother called it a parent’s worst nightmare.

“I can't wrap my head around it,” she said.

“I don't know what causes someone to do something like that.

“She was on her way to work to take care of people... people she didn't know. It's just senseless to me. It's a mother's worst nightmare.”

The hospital where she worked released a statement saying staff were “devastated to learn of the tragic and sudden passing of our ICU nurse Caitlyn Kaufman.”

They described her as a “courageous healthcare hero” and much loved member of the team.

Third nurse from the same hospital to be killed

Disturbingly, the 26-year-old is the third nurse who worked at Saint Thomas West Hospital to be killed in recent years, reports News4 Nashville.

In December 2016, the body of 26-year-old nurse Ashley Brown was found at a garbage dump, which remains an ongoing investigation. In 2018, ICU nurse Tiffany Ferguson, 23, was stabbed to death in her apartment by an intruder who is now serving life in prison.

The Tennessee Nurses Association also mourned the latest death, releasing a statement offering condolences to the family of Ms Kaufman.

“The sudden death of such a young nurse is always devastating, but even more so due to senseless violence,” the statement said.

“These are very emotionally trying times for health care workers. Our deepest condolences go out to Caitlyn's family, friends, and colleagues at St. Thomas West.”

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