The Los Angeles Police Department on Tuesday identified a suspect in the apparent random killing of 24-year-old Brianna Kupfer, a Pacific Palisades woman who worked at Croft House furniture store.
A manhunt is underway for 31-year-old Shawn Laval Smith — he should be considered armed and dangerous. A reward of up to $250,000 is being offered in the case.
According to police: On Thursday afternoon, January 13, 2022, around 1:50 p.m., Wilshire Patrol officers responded to a radio call of an “Ambulance Assault with a Deadly Weapon” at a business, located at the 300 block of North La Brea Avenue. The officers met with the reporting party, a customer who had entered the store and discovered the victim deceased on the floor.
Detectives have determined the suspect was not known to the victim and was a random walk in to the store. The suspect attacked the victim with a knife and fled the scene through the back door. There is no known motive at this time. The suspect was last seen on video surveillance northbound in the alley to the rear of the crime scene.
Below is security camera video from a 7-Eleven at Beverly and Wilshire boulevards. Police say it was recorded about 30 minutes after the murder.
Police also revealed that Kupfer texted a friend when the killer was inside the store, writing that she had a “bad vibe” about the man. The friend didn’t immediately see the text message.
“I’m absolutely devastated for her and her family,” Riley Rea, a co-owner of the store told the LA 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.”
“It is with great sadness that the entire Kupfer family mourns the passing of our beautiful daughter Brianna as a result of this horrific attack,” her family said in the statement. “Brianna, who was born, educated and was building her career here in Los Angeles, was a rising star in this community whose ascent was unnecessarily cut short by the actions of a heartless criminal last Thursday. In many ways she embodied everything that is great about Los Angeles, and the entire city should grieve over this senseless act.”
The suspect is described as a male Black, unknown age, tall, thin, wearing a dark hoody, sunglasses, a white N-95 mask, dark skinny jeans, dark shoes and carrying a dark back pack. Based on evidence discovered by detectives, the suspect is believed to be homeless.
Anyone with information should contact West Bureau Homicide investigators at (213) 382-9470. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.