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Shawn Smith Charged In Murder Of Brianna Kupfer Inside Hancock Park Furniture Store

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - A homeless man suspected of fatally stabbing a 24-year-old UCLA grad student inside a Hancock Park furniture store was charged
Friday with murder.

shawn smith arrest pas
(credit: B. Tapia)

Shawn Laval Smith, 31, is expected to be arraigned Friday afternoon in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on the murder charge, which stems from the Jan. 13 killing of Brianna Kupfer. She was attacked while working alone inside the Croft House boutique furniture store in the 300 block of North La Brea Avenue.

The murder charge against Smith includes an allegation that he used a knife in the commission of the crime.

Smith was arrested Wednesday in Pasadena following a weeklong manhunt fueled by $250,000 in reward money.

Los Angeles police Lt. John Radke said Kupfer was working alone inside the store around 1:30 p.m. when she was killed. "She sent a text to a friend letting her know that there was someone inside the location that was giving her a bad vibe," Radke said. "Regrettably, that person did not see the text immediately."

Her body was found in the store by a customer about 15 minutes after the text was sent. Radke said the attack appearance to be completely random and unprovoked.

Smith was seen on surveillance video walking away from the store through a rear alley. Surveillance cameras also caught him casually shopping about 30 minutes later at a nearby 7-Eleven store. He was also spotted shopping at other stores before and after the killing, police said.

On Thursday, dozens of people gathered for a vigil outside Croft House -- celebrating Kupfer's life and decrying the senselessness of her death.

"Bri was the brightest part of anyone's day who got to interact with her," Alex Segal, a co-owner of the Croft House furniture store, said. "She was smart and capable and intelligent. Kind and friendly and just an incredibly driven person."

Segal said the community is asking "why is this happening," but said "I don't know that there ... will ever be a sufficient answer to that question. But you look around at all the people who have shown up for her today. You can see the semblance of how we put this back together," he said.

Smith is being held on $2 million bail and was scheduled to be back in court on February 17.

(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)


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