Los Angeles

Suspect in Stabbing Death of Woman Working Alone at LA Store Is Known to Frequent San Diego

Brianna Kupfer was working alone in Croft House furniture store when she was attacked.

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A $250,000 reward was offered for information leading to the arrest of a man who is known to have been in San Diego in the past and is suspected of stabbing a woman while she worked at a furniture store in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Police late Tuesday said they were looking for 31-year-old Shawn Laval Smith, a transient who has been seen in several California cities, including San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Monican and others.

“He should be considered armed and dangerous," an LAPD community alert said. “If seen do not approach call 911."

A customer found Brianna Kupfer, 24, dead on the floor Thursday afternoon, Los Angeles police said in a statement.

The suspect, wearing all black clothing and a face mask, was last seen walking in the alley behind the store in Hancock Park.

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

The woman who worked at the store was discovered stabbed to death inside. Ted Chen reports Jan. 13, 2022.

On Tuesday, councilman Paul Koretz and LAPD Chief Michel Moore announced an additional $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of a suspect or suspects in the stabbing death of Kupfer last Saturday.

Rewards, including public and private donations, now total more than $250,000, Koretz said. He read a statement from the family at Tuesday's news conference.

"This is exactly the type of community support Brianna sought to provide in everything she did," the statement said. "Please take the time to hug and cherish your family today as Brianna would've wanted."

Police also released security camera video from a 7-Eleven. Video from the convenience store about 30 minutes after the furniture store slaying shows the man suspected in the attack, police said.

Security images show a man sought in connection with the stabbing death of 24-year-old Brianna Kupfer at a Hancock Park furniture store.

Police said the man entered several other businesses before and after the attack, leading investigators to believe someone saw him and may have information that could help investigators.

“He walked for miles, both north, south, east and west throughout this neighborhood,” said LAPD Lt. John Radke. “Someone out there knows this man. You need to come forward.”

Brianna Kupfer, 24, is pictured in this undated photo.
Family Photo
Brianna Kupfer, 24, is pictured in this undated photo. Credit: Kupfer Family

Los Angeles Police Department units were called just before 2 p.m. that day to the 300 block of North La Brea, near Beverly Boulevard, on reports of an assault and found the woman dead inside a store, according to the department's Officer Mike Lopez.

A customer found Kupfer, of Los Angeles, deceased at the scene. Kupfer had sent a text letting a person know there was someone inside store giving her a “bad vibe,” said Radke. That person did not immediately see the text.

Mounted patrols were in the neighborhood Tuesday. Outside Croft House, mourners placed flowers, candles an other items in memory of Kupfer.

Kupfer's family said she was born and raised in LA, went to Brentwood High School and graduated from the University of Miami. Most recently she was working on her master's in architectural design at UCLA.

Her aunt said Kupfer had a big heart, and was loved. She leaves behind her parents, and three siblings.

Croft House is a home decor and furniture store that features eco-friendly options.

Anyone with information was asked to call the LAPD at 213-382-9470 or 877-TIPS-247.

The Associated Press contributed to this article -- Ed.

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