Suspect Arrested in Killing of Woman at LA Furniture Store

Shawn Laval Smith allegedly stabbed 24-year-old woman to death at random
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2022 9:50 AM CST
Updated Jan 20, 2022 9:35 AM CST

(Newser) Update: Police say a man suspected of fatally stabbing a young woman in a Los Angeles furniture store last week is now in custody. The LAPD says 31-year-old Shawn Laval Smith was arrested in Pasadena on Wednesday morning, the Los Angeles Times. The arrest follows a manhunt and the offer of a $250,000 reward. A law enforcement source tells Fox that Smith was arrested after a pedestrian saw him sitting on a park bench and called 911. The LAPD released video Tuesday of the suspect in a 7-Eleven store around 30 minutes after Brianna Kupfer, 24, was stabbed to death while working alone in the Croft House store. Our original story from Wednesday follows:

A $250,000 reward is up for grabs for anyone with information leading to the arrest and prosecution of a suspect accused of fatally stabbing a Los Angeles store employee in a brazen, apparently random attack. Brianna Kupfer, 24, was alone at the Croft House furniture store in Hancock Park on Thursday when she was attacked by a man police have identified as Shawn Laval Smith, 31, per the Los Angeles Times. Police said Kupfer sent a text message to a friend at 1:36pm, saying she had "a bad vibe" about a person in the store, per Fox News. A visitor found her bloodied body about 15 minutes later. She's believed to have been a stranger to Smith, who is reportedly homeless and considered armed and dangerous.

Lt. John Radtke said Tuesday that the attack appeared to have been "random," adding no other crime was committed. Chief Michel Moore said the suspect had visited several businesses along La Brea Avenue and Beverly Boulevard before entering Croft House, which he fled through a back door. He was seen walking down a back alley before traveling the neighborhood on foot, per KTTV and Fox. "This individual responsible for this vicious, senseless, and brutal crime walks among us," Moore said. Police said Smith, who has a long rap sheet, has likely been using public transportation to visit locations around Southern California, including Pasadena, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood, per the Times.

A surveillance video released Tuesday shows the suspect buying a vape pen at a 7-Eleven just 30 minutes after to the stabbing. He's Black, over 6 feet tall with short braids, wearing dark clothing, sunglasses, and a white face mask like those worn by painters. He also carries a black backpack. Todd Kupfer tells the Times that his daughter, an LA native who was pursuing a degree in architecture and design at UCLA, loved to draw, dance, and laugh. "But her candle got snuffed out way too young" and "it's torn us apart." Councilman Paul Koretz adds the murder has "shaken and shocked our community to its core." Community members have added $200,000 to the $50,000 reward offered by the city, per KCBS. (Read more murder suspect stories.)

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