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LAPD identifies UCLA student Brianna Kupfer’s murder suspect

Los Angeles police identified the man as they say UCLA student Brianna Kupfer stabbed to death inside an advanced furniture store where she worked, hours after offering a record-breaking $ 250,000 reward for information leading to the suspected killer.

Shawn Laval Smith, 31, was considered armed and dangerous and "most likely to use public transport", The LAPD announced Tuesday.

He had been released from prison for $ 1,000 in October 2020 after being charged with a misdemeanor, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department records show, but the victim's father told The Post he "heard his rap sheet is much worse."

Kupfer, 24, was killed in the afternoon of Jan. 13 in a random attack as she was working alone in the store at Croft House on North La Brea Ave., police said.

She had texted a friend to say someone came into the store and "gave her a bad mood," LAPD lieutenant John Radtke said at a news conference prior to the release of the suspect's identity.

The killer then stabbed Kupfer in what police said was "a random act of violence" and then walked through the back door without taking anything, police said. He was seen walking calmly down the street, according to police.

A prospective customer later found Kupfer dead. Police had released surveillance footage of the suspect and announced the grand reward - a combination of municipal reward money and community donations.

Photo by Briana Kupfer.
Before her murder, Kupfer had texted a friend to say that someone came into the store and "gave her a bad mood."
APEX / MEGA
Flowers and candles are placed outside the Croft House store in honor of Brianna Kupfer.
Kupfer was working inside Croft House, an advanced retail store, when Shawn Laval Smith allegedly came in and stabbed her to death.
AP

Todd Kupfer said he felt some relief that police were able to identify the suspect who killed his daughter and hoped an arrest would be made soon. He said investigators told him they had a solid break in the case.

"The detectives felt really confident that the surveillance videos and various information they had would lead them to positive identification," Kupfer told The Post Tuesday night.

"I do not know exactly what the break was, but the investigators told me they were working. They are good detectives who really care about their jobs and who worked very diligently, and they assured me that it was something they works 24/7. "

The grieving father also said police told him Smith should have been behind bars.

"I heard his rap sheet is a lot worse than that, but it tells you that someone is not doing their job and needs a change," Kupfer said.

"We all recognize that this could have happened to be anyone's child. It's just pointless. My daughter was a completely innocent victim and there was 100 percent no provocation.

"This touched a really raw nerve. This should be a reminder to everyone to ask themselves, 'Look, do we really want this kind of danger in our lives? What are we doing here?' This needs to change. "

Kupfer studied architectural design and worked in the shop as a design consultant.

The 6'3 "190-pound Smith had recently been to Pasadena, Santa Monica, West Hollywood and elsewhere in Southern California, according to a poster published by the LAPD.

The department said "special attention" should be given to bus stops and train platforms in the search.

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