Police have taken a suspect into custody in connection with last week’s fatal stabbing of a young woman inside a Hancock Park luxury furniture store, authorities said Wednesday.
The suspect, 31-year-old Shawn Laval Smith, was found and detained by Pasadena police before noon in the area of Fair Oaks and Colorado Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Smith was being sought in the Jan. 13 killing of 24-year-old Brianna Kupfer at Croft House on North La Brea Avenue.
That day, Kupfer was working alone at the store when someone walked in.
At 1:36 p.m., the young woman sent a text to a friend saying there was someone inside the store who was “giving her a bad vibe,” LAPD Lt. John Radke said.
About 14 minutes later, a customer walked in and found Kupfer dead on the floor, covered in blood.
The assailant had stabbed the young woman to death and then left through the back door, according to LAPD.
Police said the suspect “was not known to the victim and was a random walk in to the store.” It remains unclear what motivated the killing.
After the stabbing, police shared footage of a tall, thin man in a dark hoodie, sunglasses and a white N-95 mask walking away in the alley behind the crime scene.
Different video released Tuesday showed the suspect at a 7-Eleven store — just 30 minutes after the killing.
Smith was named as a suspect just a few hours after the video’s release.
“This individual responsible for this vicious, senseless and brutal crime walks amongst us,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore said during a Tuesday news conference.
Less than 24 hours later, police got a call from a good Samaritan reporting that someone matching Smith’s description was on the corner of Colorado and Fair Oaks in Pasadena at 11:15 a.m., Pasadena police told KTLA.
“I am calling because I see a gentleman who looks very similar to the suspect in the Kupfer stabbing in LA,” the 911 caller said.
Officers responded to the location, where they spotted Smith in the street.
He was detained without incident, and later transferred into LAPD custody once authorities confirmed he was the suspect in Kupfer’s killing.
Video showed the man being handcuffed by authorities at a Pasadena bus stop.
“He just had this really cold look on his face like, ‘well I guess they got me,'” said Charlie Sanchez Salinas, who witnessed the arrest.
Booking records show Smith has an extensive criminal history, including an October 2020 arrest in Covina for a misdemeanor charge and a 2016 arrest in South Carolina related to resisting or assaulting a police officer. He was also marked for extradition in North Carolina in connection with an assault with a deadly weapon.
Kupfer, a Pacific Palisades resident, was as a design consultant for Croft House, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Her father, Todd Kupfer, said he saw her just the night before when she went over to her family’s home. He said the family is now devastated.
“It’s unfathomable,” the father told NewsNation. “Your feelings — you just want it all to go away. Sometimes you want yourself to go away because you just don’t want to feel it anymore.”
He said his daughter never expressed any concern to him about crime in the surrounding area where she worked.
“I had no idea that this was even remotely a possibility,” he said. “Given the location, you wouldn’t necessarily expect danger… In the middle of the afternoon in that area.”
A vigil is planned for Kupfer 1:30 p.m. Thursday outside Croft House.