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Alleged Homeless Man Arrested For Stabbing Brianna Kupfer In Southern California

Shawn Laval Smith has been arrested for the death of Brianna Kupfer, who texted a friend about a "bad vibe" minutes before she was stabbed inside her workplace.

By Gina Tron
Brianna Kupfer Fb

The suspect in the fatal stabbing of a young woman killed  in Los Angeles has been apprehended, less than a day after investigators identified him to the public.

Shawn Laval Smith, 31, was detained by the Pasadena Police Department on Wednesday morning, the Los Angeles Police Department tweeted; investigators had identified him as “the suspect responsible for the murder of Brianna Kupfer” on Tuesday.

Brianna Kupfer, 24, was stabbed to death last Thursday at the Croft House furniture retailer in Hancock Park, where she worked. 

“Detectives have determined the suspect was not known to the victim and was a random walk-in to the store,” the LAPD stated. “The suspect attacked the victim with a knife and fled the scene through the back door.”

During a press conference on Tuesday, West Bureau Homicide detectives with the LAPD noted that Kupfer texted a friend when the suspect was nearby.

“At 1:36 p.m. in the afternoon, Brianna was working in this store all by herself,” Lt. John Radtke 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.’”

Just 15 minutes after the text was sent, a customer found Kupfer in a pool of blood.

Radtke noted that police believe that the suspect was "homeless."

It does not appear that Smith has entered a plea, and it's unclear if he has an attorney.

Smith does have a long rap sheet going back more than a decade and in multiple states, Fox 11 in Los Angeles reports. He was arrested at least 11 times Charleston, S.C. — including for allegedly discharging a firearm into a car while a man and his child sat inside in 2019. 

Kupfer was graduate student at the University of California Los Angeles, where she was studying architectural design.

"I'm absolutely devastated for her and her family," Riley Rea, a co-owner of the luxury furniture store where Kupfer was slain, told the Los Angeles Times. "It just seems so disgusting and unexpected. Really there are no words to say how shocked we are to lose such a wonderful person."

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