Watch CBS News

Suspect ID'd As Shawn Laval Smith In Murder Of Brianna Kupfer, Hancock Park Furniture Store Employee Found Stabbed

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Authorities identified a man wanted in the last week's murder of an employee at a furniture store in Hancock Park.

Shawn Laval Smith

Tuesday night, police identified the suspect as Shawn Laval Smith. He remains at large and is considered armed and dangerous. Police say anyone who sees him should not approach him and call 911 immediately.

Thanks to private donations, a $50,000 reward offered by the city for information leading to Smith's arrest has risen to $250,000.

"We will find this vicious criminal, we will arrest him and we will get him prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz said Tuesday after he introduced a motion at the city council meeting to create a $50,000 reward from the city.

Kupfer murder suspect
(credit: LAPD)

"But we must fight for justice for her even though nothing will bring her back. Our mission and my objective is that the perpetrator that took away Brianna from her beloved parents, colleagues, friends and our community will be permanently locked away, constantly reminded of his horrible, ugly and senseless murder of an innocent young woman who had endless potential," Koretz added.

Smith, 31, is described as 6 feet, 2 inches tall and 190 pounds. He is believed to be homeless and has been seen in multiple cities across Southern California -- including Pasadena, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Covina, and San Diego -- and  up north in San Francisco.

Police added Smith is highly likely to use public transportation, specifically bus stops and train platforms.

brianna kupfer murder community alert
(credit: LAPD)

Police released video Tuesday from a 7-Eleven store, showing the alleged killer casually shopping 30 minutes after Kupfer's death. He was also shopping at other stores before and after the killing, police said.

Police say 24-year-old Brianna Kupfer was the only employee at the Croft House on La Brea Avenue when someone came into the store last Thursday afternoon and fatally stabbed her. Kupfer's body was not found until a customer arrived later at the store.

Officers said Kupfer instantly had a bad feeling when the suspect walked into the store.

"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 Lt. John Radtke of LAPD.

About 15 minutes later, a customer found Kupfer stabbed to death.

"I don't see us healing anytime soon," said Todd Kupfer, the victim's father. "I would love to tell you that there's going to be a point we're going to be better, but I feel like it's going to be a big missing piece."

The suspect in Kupfer's murder was seen leaving the store through a back door and fleeing into an alley, heading toward Oakwood and La Brea avenues. Police said there is no known motive to the stabbing.

Authorities say they need help identifying and capturing the suspect in the fatal stabbing. Anyone with information can contact LAPD's West Bureau Homicide investigators at (213) 382-9470.

A vigil for Kupfer was announced for Thursday from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in front of the store.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.