Suspect captured in furniture store slaying, a crime that 'shocked' LA neighborhood

The victim texted a friend that someone in the store gave her a "bad vibe."

January 19, 2022, 5:02 PM

Los Angeles police on Wednesday arrested the man they say killed a 24-year-old woman while she worked alone in a furniture store.

The suspect, believed to be homeless, attacked Brianna Kupfer with a knife just before 2 p.m. Thursday, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

PHOTO: Brianna Kupfer, seen in this undated photo, was killed at a Los Angeles furniture store Jan. 13, 2022.
Brianna Kupfer, seen in this undated photo, was killed at a Los Angeles furniture store Jan. 13, 2022.
Brianna Kupfer/Facebook

He fled through the store's back door and Kupfer's body was soon found on the floor by a customer, police said.

PHOTO: Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Sonia Monico speaks at a news conference about Brianna Kupfer, Jan. 18, 2022, in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Sonia Monico speaks at a news conference about Brianna Kupfer, Jan. 18, 2022, in Los Angeles.
Ashley Landis/AP
PHOTO: Flowers are placed outside Croft House furniture store in memory of graduate student Brianna Kupfer, Jan. 17, 2022.
Flowers are placed outside Croft House furniture store in memory of graduate student Brianna Kupfer, Jan. 17, 2022.
Emma Mcintyre/Getty Images

Police on Tuesday identified the suspect as 31-year-old Shawn Laval Smith and asked for the public's help in finding him.

On Wednesday, Smith was spotted by a citizen who recognized him from the news and responding officers found him at a bus bench in Pasadena, police said.

PHOTO: The suspect in the murder of Brianna Kupfer has been identified as Shawn Laval Smith seen here in this image released by LAPD.
The suspect in the murder of Brianna Kupfer has been identified as Shawn Laval Smith seen here in this image released by LAPD.
LAPD

There is no known motive, police said, adding that the suspect had randomly walked into the store.

Kupfer texted a friend that afternoon saying someone in the store was giving her a "bad vibe," LAPD Lt. John Radke said at a Tuesday news conference.

The slaying has "shaken and shocked our community to its core," Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz said at the news conference.

While not working at the furniture store, Kupfer was taking courses in design through UCLA Extension, a continuing education program.

"Brianna, who was born, educated and was building her career here in Los Angeles, was a rising star in this community," Kupfer's family said in a statement read on their behalf at the news conference. "Brianna was a smart, funny, driven and kind soul who only wanted to better herself and her community on a daily basis."

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