Police Catch Shawn Laval Smith in Brianna Kupfer Stabbing Murder
Skip to main content

Los Angeles Police Catch ‘Wanted Man’ in Connection with Stabbing Murder of College Student Brianna Kupfer

 
Shawn Laval Smith appears in mugshots released by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Shawn Laval Smith appears in mugshots released by the Los Angeles Police Department.

UPDATE — The Los Angeles Police Department has reported that Smith is in custody.  He was arrested by officers with the Pasadena Police Department at about 11:50 a.m. Pacific near Fair Oaks and Colorado Boulevard.  Our original report is below.

The Los Angeles Police Department has named a person “wanted in connection with” the murder of Brianna Kupfer, the 24-year-old UCLA architectural design student who was killed while working alone in a high-end furniture store on Jan. 13.

The police have identified Shawn Laval Smith, 31, as the man they’re seeking in connection to Kupfer’s killing. He’s described in a wanted poster as someone who “should be considered armed and dangerous” and as someone “highly likely to be using public transportation” around Pasadena, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Covina, San Diego, San Francisco, and other locations in Southern California. The authorities asked citizens to keep a lookout around “bus stops and train platforms” and to call 911 (or use an anonymous tip platform) without approaching the suspect.

The wanted poster suggests that an arrest warrant is imminent.

A customer found Kupfer, of Pacific Palisades, stabbed to death on the floor of the North La Brea Avenue store where she worked in Los Angeles, CBS News reported. The discovery of Kupfer’s body occurred about fifteen minutes after the victim texted a friend that a customer was in the store and that she felt unsafe.

“She sent a text to a friend saying there was someone inside the location that gave her a bad vibe.  Regrettably, that person did not see the text immediately,” said LAPD Lt. John Radtke, according to CBS.

Brianna Kupfer appears in a social media image shared by KABC-TV. (Image via screengrab.)

Brianna Kupfer appears in a social media image shared by KABC-TV. (Image via screengrab.)

The LAPD described the stabbing in a press release:

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. 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.

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.

The department on Tuesday announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to a succcessful conviction in the case.

A wanted man identified as Shawn Laval Smith appears in a still frame taken from a 7-Eleven convenience store security camera. (Image via the LAPD/YouTube.)

A wanted man identified as Shawn Laval Smith appears in a still frame taken from a 7-Eleven convenience store security camera. (Image via the LAPD/YouTube.)

The Los Angeles Police Department also released video footage which purports to show the suspect at a convenience store.

A wanted man identified as Shawn Laval Smith appears in a still frame taken from a 7-Eleven convenience store security camera. (Image via the LAPD/YouTube.)

The images show a man clad in black clothing and a white face mask dropping what appears to be a crumpled dollar bill on the counter.

A wanted man identified as Shawn Laval Smith appears in a still frame taken from a 7-Eleven convenience store security camera. (Image via the LAPD/YouTube.)

He eventually emerges from the transaction carrying what looks like an electronic cigarette or vape pen.

The video and the LAPD wanted poster are below.

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime:

Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University.  He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now a Senior Editor for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only.  You should not rely on it for legal advice.  Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.  This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.  Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.