The suspect identified in the brutal murder of UCLA graduate student in design has been identified, and he is a career criminal with a rap sheet that reputedly includes charges of assault with a deadly weapon, carrying a concealed weapon, assault on a police officer, and possession of a stolen vehicle, among other charges.
Shawn Laval Smith, 31, is suspected of stabbing Brianna Kupfer, 24, to death last Thursday afternoon as she worked at the Croft House store on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles, an upscale furniture store. On Tuesday night, The Los Angeles Police Department stated on Twitter:
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.
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. pic.twitter.com/jZlESB9l9r
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) January 19, 2022
At a Tuesday press conference, LAPD Lt. John Radke stated, “She sent a text to a friend letting her know that there was someone inside the location that was giving her a bad vibe. Regrettably, that person did not see the text immediately.”
Hunt for suspect who killed Brianna Kupfer at LA furniture store – latest https://t.co/GPm1ED2oXk
— The Independent (@Independent) January 18, 2022
Riley Rea, co-owner of Croft House, said Kupfer was beloved by her co-workers at the store, telling The Los Angeles Times, “She was mature beyond her years,” adding, “I’m absolutely devastated for her and her family. It just seems so disgusting and unexpected. Really there are no words to say how shocked we are to lose such a wonderful person.”
The Croft House posted a statement on their store window reading:
The entire Croft House family is deeply saddened by the devastating loss of our beloved team member on January 13, 2022. Our La Brea Avenue showroom will be closed until further notice to allow our team members to grieve and process this unthinkable tragedy and in order for law enforcement to complete their investigation.
Please keep the family, friends, and colleagues in close thought during this difficult time as we mourn, cherish, miss, and honor someone we care for so much. The entire Croft House family sends our love to our team member’s family and friends. Please direct all questions related to this tragic event to the LAPD.
Los Angeles County prosecutor Jonathan Hatami slammed Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, tweeting, “No parent should ever have to bury their child. But, if you do lose a child to violence, we must have a DA who is willing to stand up and fight for the victims and prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law. Every victim deserves a voice and we all deserve justice.”
No parent should ever have to bury their child. But, if you do lose a child to violence, we must have a DA who is willing to stand up and fight for the victims and prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law. Every victim deserves a voice and we all deserve justice.
— jonathanhatami (@jonathanhatami) January 19, 2022
Brianna’s father Todd told Fox & Friends, “You can question everything, you can spend your nights with all the ‘what if’s … but it doesn’t change anything. … I don’t know why she was there alone, but she was. I don’t think anybody would have anticipated that this could possibly happen there. … I don’t think anybody is to blame other than the assailant – the awful person that did this to my daughter.”
Kupfer eviscerated the politicians who have let criminals run amok in the city, saying, “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.” He told Fox News, “Crime is truly spiking, and we have a lot of criminals on the streets that shouldn’t be out.”
Kupfer concluded he wanted Brianna to be remembered “as a person, a human being and a caring, loving and devoted family member and a great friend and just a rising star.”