Brianna Kupfer was a 24-year-old UCLA graduate student who was stabbed to death in a random attack inside the high-end furniture store where she worked in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles.
Kupfer was working alone in the furniture store as a design consultant when the killer walked into the store and murdered her, according to police and Fox 11.
There is now an identified suspect. Los Angeles police released Shawn Laval Smith’s name on the evening of January 18, 2022, writing, “31-year-old Shawn Laval Smith has been identified in connection with the murder of Brianna Kupfer, which occurred in the 300 block of North La Brea Avenue on January 13, 2022. He should be considered armed and dangerous. If seen do not approach, call 911.”
On January 19, 2022, police revealed that Smith was apprehended, writing, “We can confirm, Shawn Laval Smith, the suspect responsible for the murder of Brianna Kupfer is in custody, after being located and detained by Pasadena PD around 11:50am this morning in the area of Fair Oaks and Colorado Blvd.”
The LAPD also released a series of photos of Smith, who is at large. Read more about Smith here.
It’s part of a string of random, violent attacks against women in the United States. A nurse, Sandra Shells, died after a transient man struck her while she waited for a bus in Los Angeles. In New York, Michelle Alyssa Go was pushed in front of a subway train, to her death, by a man believed to be homeless.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Suspect Randomly Attacked Kupfer With a Knife Inside the Store, Police Say
In a news release, Los Angeles police wrote that The Los Angeles Police Department, West Bureau Homicide detectives “are investigating the murder of 24-year-old Brianna Kupfer, a Pacific Palisades resident.”
“On Thursday afternoon, January 13, 2022, around 1:50 p.m., Wilshire Patrol officers responded to a radio call of an ‘Ambulance Assault with a Deadly Weapon’ at a business, located at the 300 block of North La Brea Avenue,” police wrote. “The officers met with the reporting party, a customer who had entered the store and discovered the victim deceased on the floor.”
Detectives have determined the suspect was not known to the victim and was a random walk in to the store. The suspect attacked the victim with a knife and fled the scene through the back door. There is no known motive at this time. The suspect was last seen on video surveillance northbound in the alley to the rear of the crime scene.
2. The Suspect, Who Was Seen on Video, Is Believed to Be Homeless, Police Wrote
Police released this description of the suspect:
The suspect is described as a male Black, unknown age, tall, thin, wearing a dark hoody, sunglasses, a white N-95 mask, dark skinny jeans, dark shoes and carrying a dark back pack. Based on evidence discovered by detectives, the suspect is believed to be homeless.
You can see video of the suspect in this news report:
They added: “Anyone with information on this (stabbing) should contact West Bureau Homicide investigators at (213) 382-9470. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).”
News anchor Jeff Vaughn wrote on Twitter that “a doctor with an office next to The Croft House where Brianna Kupfer was killed says the suspect visited her practice before he murdered the 24 year old. Over last year doctor says visits from ‘not right’ people forced her to beef up security and add buzzer to get inside.”
3. Kupfer Was Studying Design at UCLA
According to Fox News, Brianna Kupfer was studying design at UCLA and had worked at Croft House as a consultant for about a year.
On LinkedIn, she wrote, “Design Consultant. Interior Architecture/ Interior Design.”
Fox 11 reported that Kupfer “was a UCLA grad student studying architectural design. She was working as a design consultant at Croft House – a high-end furniture store in the Fairfax District.”
The Croft House, where she worked, describes itself on its website this way:
Founded in 2010, Croft House aims to encompass the sophisticated, relaxed feel of the California lifestyle through their handmade pieces of statement furniture. Croft prides itself on creating timeless pieces, individually crafted to fit a client’s specific needs. Their extensive design experience effortlessly transforms ideas and vision into functional, quality furniture.
4. Kupfer’s Father Blamed Politicians for the Murder of His ‘Strong & Vivacious’ Daughter’
Kupfer’s father blamed politicians for his daughter’s murder.
“Crime is truly spiking, and we have a lot of criminals on the streets that shouldn’t be out,” Todd Kupfer told Fox News.
“We have a lot of politicians that somehow forgot about people and think the key to getting elected is to support the lowest rung of our society and to give them rights and somehow that’s the answer to getting votes,” Kupfer said to Fox.
“She was a kind soul and always was trying to make herself better and everything around her better,” said Kupfer. “She cared about people.”
He added: “She was the kind of person we need on this Earth,” her dad said. “She was strong and vivacious.”
5. Kupfer Filled Her Facebook Page With Photos of Friends & the Outdoors
On Facebook, Kupfer wrote that she was from Pacific Palisades. Her photos mostly show her with friends or enjoying the outdoors.
She had a degree in public relations from the University of Miami and studied abroad at the University of Sydney, according to her LinkedIn page. She attended Brentwood High School, according to Fox 11.
“Stand for justice,” read the graphic on Kupfer’s LinkedIn cover page.
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