Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California

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LIVE – Updated at 23:00

The man wanted on suspicion of the murder of 24-year-old Brianna Kupfer has been taken into custody in California.

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The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that Shawn Laval Smith was arrested by Pasadena police at around 11:50am that morning in the area of Fair Oaks and Colorado Blvd in Pasadena – roughly 17 miles from the luxury furniture store where Ms Kupfer was found murdered on 13 January.

“We can confirm, Shawn Laval Smith, the suspect responsible for the murder of Brianna Kupfer is in custody,” the department tweeted.

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A huge manhunt had been underway to track down Mr Smith, 31, after the LAPD identified him on Tuesday night as the only suspect in the UCLA graduate student’s murder.

Ms Kupfer was alone working in the Croft House store when she was stabbed to death in what is believed to be a random attack. She was found bleeding on the floor by a customer and died at the scene.

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Surveillance videos captured the suspect leaving the shop through a back door and then buying a vape pen in a 7-Eleven.

Police said she texted a friend about a customer with a “bad vibe” moments before her killing.

Key Points

  • Suspect arrested in Pasadena after six-day manhunt
  • LAPD identify ‘armed’ and ‘dangerous’ suspect
  • Police share new video of suspect
  • Kupfer’s father blasts crime surge
  • New images of suspect released as LAPD reveal Brianna texted friend
  • Reward money tops $250,000

LAPD confirms arrest of ‘suspect responsible for the murder of Brianna Kupfer’

20:58 , Rachel Sharp

The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that Shawn Laval Smith was located and detained by Pasadena police at around 11:50am on Wednesday morning in the area of Fair Oaks and Colorado Blvd in Pasadena.

“We can confirm, Shawn Laval Smith, the suspect responsible for the murder of Brianna Kupfer is in custody,” the department tweeted.

“We would like to thank the public, the media and our partners at Pasadena PD for their support in apprehending the suspect.”

We can confirm, Shawn Laval Smith, the suspect responsible for the murder of Brianna Kupfer is in custody, after being located and detained by Pasadena PD around 11:50am this morning in the area of Fair Oaks and Colorado Blvd.

— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) January 19, 2022

‘She was a kind soul’: Father remembers Brianna Kupfer

23:00 , Justin Vallejo

Before the arrest of suspect Shawn Laval Smith, the father of Brianna Kupfer remembered his daughter as a “kind soul”.

“She was a kind soul and always was trying to make herself better and everything around her better,” the victim’s father, Todd Kupfer, told Fox News Digital Monday. “She cared about people.”

Who is Brianna Kupfer? Everything we know about UCLA grad student

22:18 , Oliver O’Connell

Brianna Kupfer has been described by loved ones as a “kind soul” who “glowed with positivity”.

At the time of her death, the 24-year-old was seeking a graduate degree in architectural design at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

She was also working as a design consultant at the Croft House upscale furniture boutique in Hancock Park in the west of Los Angeles where she was murdered on 13 January. She leaves behind her parents and three siblings.

Ms Kupfer was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended Brentwood High School. She then graduated from the University of Miami. Ms Kupfer’s father, Todd Kupfer, remembered her as always trying to improve the world around her.

This is everything we know about Brianna.

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

Who is Brianna Kupfer? Everything we know about slain UCLA grad student

Who is Shawn Laval Smith? Homeless suspect in stabbing of UCLA grad student Brianna Kupfer

21:48 , Megan Sheets

Shawn Laval Smith, 31, was arrested in connection to the stabbing UCLA graduate student Brianna Kupfer to death at a Los Angeles furniture store.

Mr Smith is said to have a lengthy rap sheet spanning the US from South Carolina to California.

His most recent arrest was for shoplifting, according to Fox News. He was also jailed in San Mateo for assaulting a police officer, the outlet reported.

Los Angeles County jail records also showed an October 2020 arrest on a misdemeanour charge. He was released on $1,000 bail in that case, the outcome of which was not immediately clear.

Before that case, records reportedly showed Mr Smith was arrested in Charleston, South Carolina, on suspicion of firing a weapon into an occupied vehicle in November 2019. He was released on $50,000 bond in that case.

He also reportedly faced multiple arrests in Cherokee, North Carolina, between 2015 and 2018.

Prior to Mr Smith being named in connection with the Kupfer case, police said they believed the assailant was homeless.

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

Who is Shawn Laval Smith? Convict wanted for fatal stabbing of Brianna Kupfer

Shawn Laval Smith arrested by Pasadena police

20:47 , Rachel Sharp

The man suspected of murdering Ms Kupfer has been arrested and taken into custody by Pasadena Police, according to FoxLA.

Shawn Laval Smith was taken into custody on Wednesday afternoon near the intersection of E. Colorado Boulevard and Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena, the outlet reported.

No further details are yet known.

The Independent has reached out to Pasadena Police for comment.

Have you seen this man?

20:29 , Rachel Sharp

The LAPD is asking for the public’s help in finding Shawn Laval Smith, the man suspected of murdering Ms Kupfer on 13 January.

He is described as a 31-year-old Black male, 6 foot 3 in height and weighing 190 pounds.

Investigators said he should be considered armed and dangerous and, if spotted, members of the public should call 911 and not approach him.

If anyone has information call LAPD West Bureau Homicide at 213-382-9470. After hours or on weekends, call 877-LAPD-247 (877-527-3247). To remain anonymous visit http://LACrimeStoppers.org

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent Wanted poster released by the LAPD for the man suspected of murdering Brianna Kupfer (LAPD)

Prosecutor Jon Hatami hits out at DA George Gascón’s ‘progressive politics’

20:04 , Rachel Sharp

LA prosecutor Jon Hatami has hit out at LA County District Attorney George Gascón following the deaths of Ms Kupfer and nurse Sandra Shells, who was attacked and killed on the same day in the City of Angels.

Mr Hatami, who prosecuted the well-known child abuse case of Gabriel Hernandez, said “progressive politics” from liberal prosecutors like DA Gascón are failing communities across the country.

“A 70-yr-old nurse, a 24-yr-old grad student, and a 16-yr-old girl were recently murdered in separate incidents in LA. George Gascón says “crime is overwhelmingly down,”’ he tweeted on Wednesday morning.

“I say we need a DA that holds criminals accountable, fights for victims & justice and believes in public safety.”

Mr Hatami said in an interview with Fox News that someone who “fails to fight for victims” should not be a district attorney.

“Nobody should have to be around a district attorney who fails to fight for victims and fails to fight for the family members of victims,” he said.

“Nobody should have a district attorney who refuses to file charges against murderers and rapists and child abusers to the fullest extent of the law. That person does not deserve to be the DA.”

A 70-yr-old nurse, a 24-yr-old grad student, and a 16-yr-old girl were recently murdered in separate incidents in LA. George Gascón says “crime is overwhelmingly down.” I say we need a DA that holds criminals accountable, fights for victims & justice and believes in public safety

— jonathanhatami (@jonathanhatami) January 19, 2022

Victim’s father says video shows killer has ‘no remorse’

19:35 , Rachel Sharp

Ms Kupfer’s grieving father said that the surveillance footage of his daughter’s suspected killer shows he has “no remorse” for her brutal murder.

Todd Kupfer told ABC News: “It just feels as if he did this without remorse.

“The limited video evidence we were able to see didn’t look like somebody that cared for an act of incredible violence that had just occurred.”

Mr Kupfer added: “We would love to see this guy off the street.”

Surveillance footage, released to the public before the suspect was named, captured Mr Smith casually strolling out of the back exit of the furniture store and walking through an alley way minutes after the attack took place.

Mr Smith was then picked up on surveillance footage around 30 minutes later inside a 7-Eleven store buying several items including a vape pen.

The Independent’s Rachel Sharp has more:

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
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Brianna Kupfer’s father reveals moment he heard about daughter’s murder

ICYMI: Witness describes moment Kupfer’s body was found

19:00 , Megan Sheets

Many members of the Hancock Park community have spoken out to share their shock at Ms Kupfer’s killing.

Herman Hinks, who works as a security guard across the street from the Croft House furniture shop, recalled the moment two customers came out of the store after discovering her body.

“I saw them walk out and I just see sheer terror. She was screaming like ‘Oh my God, oh my God,’” Mr Hinks told KABC. “At that point, I was trying to make my way over. There was too much traffic. By that time, police came from everywhere. When I walked that way, you could see through the window and when I looked down, I said: ‘Oh my God, that’s the young lady that works at the store.’”

Mr Hinks remembered Ms Kupfer as “very friendly”.

“I see her every morning. She come in, she opens the shop. Real friendly woman,” he said. “She’ll look back and wave. Everybody over here is friendly. We look out for one another in the area.”

DA’s office under fire

18:30 , Megan Sheets

Ms Kupfer’s shocking murder has led to an outpouring of grief and anger on social media as a police manhunt for the suspect continues for a sixth day.

Many sharing their horror directed criticism at Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, accusing him of failing to halt surging levels of violent crime.

Mr Gascón was elected to the DA’s office in 2020 after promising widespread criminal justice reform and issued a directive that prevented prosecutors from seeking the death penalty, and provided sentencing enhancements or cash bail in non-violent cases.

Mr Gascón has previously stated that the “tough on crime” approach has failed.

Angelenos wrote of their anger at the city’s crime policies on social media, and suggested they may have led to Ms Kupfer’s death.

The Independent’s Bevan Hurley has more:

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

Outpouring of grief and anger on social media over killing of Brianna Kupfer

Kupfer ‘glowed with positivity’

18:00 , Megan Sheets

Ms Kupfer has been described by loved ones as a “kind soul” who “glowed with positivity”.

At the time of her death, the 24-year-old was seeking a graduate degree in architectural design at UCLA and working as a design consultant at the Croft House upscale furniture boutique.

Ms Kupfer’s father, Todd Kupfer, remembered her as always trying to improve the world around her.

“She was a kind soul and always was trying to make herself better and everything around her better,” the heartbroken father said. “She cared about people.”

Her friends told CBS: “The world has been robbed of a productive member of society – who glowed with positivity.”

The Independent’s Oliver O’Connell has more:

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

Who is Brianna Kupfer? Everything we know about slain UCLA grad student

Kupfer’s father recounts moment he heard of her death

17:30 , Megan Sheets

Ms Kupfer’s father recounted the moment he learned his daughter had been killed in an emotional interview with ABC News on Wednesday.

“It was 30 minutes, but it felt like days,” Todd Kupfer said. “You don’t want to hear it and you don’t want to believe it. You process it a little bit and … it’s the worse feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”

As for the 24-year-old’s killer, he said: “We would love to see this guy off the street. It just feels as if he did this without remorse. The limited video evidence we were able to see didn’t look like somebody that cared for an act of incredible violence that had just occurred.”

Kupfer likely targeted because she was alone

17:00 , Megan Sheets

Los Angeles police have said Ms Kupfer was likely targeted by her killer because she was alone in the Croft House furniture store.

At Tuesday’s press conference, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said of the suspect: “He visited businesses up and down La Brea, and along the Beverly corridor as well, businesses large and small,’ before and after the killing.”

The comment came after Dr Jennifer Botelho, who owns a chiropractic practice next door to Croft House, recalled coming face to face with the suspect moments before the stabbing.

“He asked a couple of questions: ‘Do you do orthopedics here?’ What kind of care we provide and then he left. So he was just here for a few minutes,” Dr Botelho told CBS Los Angeles.

She also said that she’s been forced to ramp up security at her business in recent months due to an increase in crime in the neighbourhood.

Offering her condolences to Ms Kupfer’s family, she said: “It’s terrifying. It’s horrible. She’s such a young girl. … We feel so horrible for Brianna’s family, and hope we can catch this guy.”

A doctor with an office next to The Croft House where Brianna Kupfer was killed says the suspect visited her practice before he murdered the 24 year old. Over last year doctor says visits from “not right” people forced her to beef up security and add buzzer to get inside. pic.twitter.com/YcUq9OmWfe

— Jeff Vaughn (@JeffVaughn) January 15, 2022

‘We’ll miss her greatly’

16:30 , Megan Sheets

Los Angeles council member Paul Koretz delivered a statement from Ms Kupfer’s family at a press conference on Tuesday.

“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,” the statement read.

“In many ways she embodied everything that was great about Los Angeles and the entire city should grieve over this senseless act.

“Brianna was a smart, driven, funny and kind soul who only wanted to better herself and her community on a daily basis.

“While she could be shy at times, she lit up any room she was in, and strove to elevate everyone she met so they could be better versions of themselves.

“She deeply loved her family and friends, and made every day better simply by her presence.

“We’ll miss her greatly, and there won’t be a day that goes by that we don’t think of her.”

The family thanked members of the community who had donated $200,000 to helping to find Ms Kupfer’s killer, and expressed the hope that he would be apprehended and convicted quickly.

Suspect purchased vape pen after attack

16:00 , Megan Sheets

Surveillance video from a 7-Eleven store purportedly showed suspect Shawn Laval Smith purchasing a vape pen about half an hour after Ms Kupfer was killed.

In the footage, recorded about four miles from the crime scene, the suspect appeared calm and collected as he handed cash to a sales person.

He was wearing all black with sunglasses and a white dust mask that he briefly lowered.

Watch the video here via Independent TV.

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent Police have released new images of the suspect in the Brianna Kupfer murder inquiry (LAPD)

Vigil for Kupfer

15:30 , Megan Sheets

The Hancock Park community is set to hold a vigil for Ms Kupfer on Thursday outside the Croft House furniture store where she worked as a design consultant.

It will begin at 1.30pm, around the time that she was stabbed to death inside the store one week earlier on 13 January.

“The idea has come up spontaneously since we are horrified by the murder of Brianna Kupfer,” organizer Yael Kopple said. “We have put a flyer together asking people to join outside the store at the time of the murder.

“The purpose is to show solidarity together with bringing awareness of how we can be more involved to restore safety in the community.”

ICYMI: Father blames spiking crime

15:00 , Megan Sheets

Ms Kupfer’s father condemned politicians for failing to curb soaring crime in the days after his daughter’s murder.

“Crime is truly spiking, and we have a lot of criminals on the streets that should not be out,” Todd Kupfer told Fox News in an emotional interview on Monday.

“We have a lot of politicians that somehow forgot about people and think the key to getting elected is to support the lowest rung of our society and to give them rights and somehow that’s the answer to getting votes.”

The Independent’s Arpan Rai reports:

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

Brianna Kupfer: Father of student stabbed to death slams politicians for crime spike

Homeless crime wave in LA

14:30 , Megan Sheets

Investigators’ belief that Ms Kupfer’s killer is homeless renewed concerns over a rise in violence among the homeless community in Los Angeles and around the country since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rev Andy Bales, CEO and president of Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row in Los Angeles, tells The Independent that what he has seen in the last two years is unlike anything he has seen during the 35 years he has been working to support people living in homelessness.

“I’m certainly seeing violence and behaviours among people devastated by homelessness that I’ve never seen in the last 35 years,” he says.

“Most often it’s violence towards others who are homeless and they suffer the brunt of it.

“But in LA, 70 percent of people devastated by homelessness are on the streets and so this presents conditions where pedestrians on their way to work will meet people who are in different states of mental illness.”

He adds: “In LA, there are encampments everywhere you go and people who are struggling are everywhere.”

Public instructed not to approach Smith

13:58 , Megan Sheets

Police warned the public not to approach suspect Shawn Laval Smith as he is considered “armed and dangerous”.

Instead, anyone who believes they’ve spotted him should immediately call 911.

Anyone with more general information on his whereabouts is urged to contact West Bureau Homicide investigators at (213) 382-9470 or Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads).

Everything we know about Shawn Laval Smith

13:30 , Megan Sheets

Five days after Ms Kupfer was murdered, police identified Shawn Laval Smith as her suspected killer on Tuesday.

The Independent’s Megan Sheets explains everything we know about the 31-year-old:

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

Who is Shawn Laval Smith? Convict wanted for fatal stabbing of Brianna Kupfer

Three women killed in random attacks by homeless men

13:10 , Megan Sheets

Brianna Kupfer was working her shift in a furniture store. Michelle Alyssa Go was catching a train. Sandra Shells was waiting for a bus.

All three women were then murdered in what appeared to be random acts of senseless violence by homeless men.

Their killings, which all took place across just three days last week, have once again thrust concerns around a rise in violent crime and homelessness in America’s major cities into the spotlight.

The Independent’s Rachel Sharp reports:

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
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Three women killed in random attacks by homeless men: What does it say about America?

City leader vows justice

12:47 , Megan Sheets

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz on Tuesday urged other city leaders to add $50,000 more to the $200,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the suspect.

“We will find this vicious criminal, we will arrest him and we will get him prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.

“But we must fight for justice for her even though nothing will bring her back. Our mission and my objective is that the perpetrator that took away Brianna from her beloved parents, colleagues, friends and our community will be permanently locked away, constantly reminded of his horrible, ugly and senseless murder of an innocent young woman who had endless potential.”

Suspect’s lengthy rap sheet

12:17 , Megan Sheets

Shawn Laval Smith, the man currently sought for Ms Kupfer’s murder, is said to have a lengthy rap sheet spanning the US from South Carolina to California.

His most recent arrest was for shoplifting, according to Fox News. He was also jailed in San Mateo for assaulting a police officer, the outlet reported.

Los Angeles County jail records also showed an October 2020 arrest on a misdemeanour charge. He was released on $1,000 bail in that case, the outcome of which was not immediately clear.

In announcing Mr Smith as a suspect in Ms Kupfer’s murder, police released two mugshots from a previous arrest and a photo taken after the killing:

31-year-old Shawn Laval Smith has been identified in connection with the murder of Brianna Kupfer, which occurred in the 300 block of North La Brea Avenue on January 13, 2022. He should be considered armed and dangerous. If seen do not approach, call 911. pic.twitter.com/jZlESB9l9r

— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) January 19, 2022

Kupfer’s last text revealed

11:25 , Megan Sheets

At Tuesday’s press conference, police revealed Ms Kupfer texted a friend expressing concern about someone who had entered the Croft House furniture store.

“She sent a text to a friend letting her know that there was someone inside the location that was giving her a bad vibe,” LAPD Lt John Radtke said. “Regrettably, that person did not see the text immediately.”

The man Ms Kupfer mentioned is believed to be 31-year-old Shawn Laval Smith, who was identified as the only suspect in her slaying later on Tuesday. He remains at large.

Who is Brianna Kupfer?

10:38 , Eleanor Sly

Brianna Kupfer has been described by loved ones as a “kind soul” who “glowed with positivity”.

At the time of her death, the 24-year-old was seeking a graduate degree in architectural design at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

She was also working as a design consultant at the Croft House upscale furniture boutique in Hancock Park in the west of Los Angeles where she was murdered on Thursday 13 January. She leaves behind her parents and three siblings.

Oliver O’Connell has more:

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

Who is Brianna Kupfer? Everything we know about slain UCLA grad student

Images of tributes paid to Brianna Kupfer

08:40 , Eleanor Sly

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
(Getty Images) (AP) (AP)

Man arrested over death of LA nurse

07:42 , Eleanor Sly

A man suspected of attacking and killing a 70-year-old woman at a bus stop in Los Angeles was charged with murder on Tuesday.

Sandra Shells was attacked last Thursday at a bus stop located near to Union Station while on her way to work as a nurse at LA County-USC Medical Center, the district attorney’s office said in a statement.

Ms Shells fell over backwards, hitting her head on the ground. She died in hospital on Sunday.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a homeless man was arrested near to the station and booked for investigation of attempted murder.

Kerry Bell, 48, was charged with murder. It was not immediately known if he has an attorney.

Suspect believed to be using public transport

04:54 , Maroosha Muzaffar

The LAPD said that the suspect, Shawn Laval Smith, is believed to be using public transport.

In a community alert shared by the Los Angeles Police Department, they say that “special attention must be paid to bus stops and train platforms.”

On Tuesday, the police identified 31-year-old Smith as the suspect they believe stabbed Brianna Kupfer on 13 January and fled the scene.

31-year-old Shawn Laval Smith has been identified in connection with the murder of Brianna Kupfer, which occurred in the 300 block of North La Brea Avenue on January 13, 2022. He should be considered armed and dangerous. If seen do not approach, call 911. pic.twitter.com/jZlESB9l9r

— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) January 19, 2022

Police said that Mr Smith should be considered “armed” and “dangerous.”

LAPD identify ‘armed’ and ‘dangerous’ suspect

04:32 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Police have identified a man they believe to be the killer of 24-year-old Brianna Kupfer.

The Los Angeles Police Department said that the suspect, Shawn Laval Smith, 31, should be considered armed and dangerous.

Read the full story here:

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

LAPD identifies suspected killer of Brianna Kupfer, releases images

LAPD release new photos of suspected killer as reward tops $250,000

04:30 , Oliver O’Connell

The LAPD have released new images of the man suspected of killing UCLA grad student Brianna Kupfer and announced a reward for his capture had increased to $250,000.

A $50,000 reward put up by the city of Los Angeles had grown to $250,000 with donations from private groups and individuals, police revealed at a press conference on Tuesday.

Bevan Hurley reports.

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

LAPD release new images of Brianna Kupfer suspect as they increase reward

Sandra Shells: LA nurse dies after assault by homeless person same day as Brianna’s murder

02:30 , Oliver O’Connell

A Los Angeles nurse is dead after a homeless person randomly attacked her at a bus stop, police say.

Sandra Shells, 70, was waiting for a bus at downtown LA’s Union Station on Thursday when an assailant allegedly hit her in the face, knocking her to the ground. A witness to the attack called 911.

“Upon arrival, officers discovered that the suspect, later identified as Kerry Bell, had struck the victim in the face, causing her to fall to the ground and sustain a fractured skull,” the LAPD said in a statement.

Nathan Place reports.

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
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LA nurse dies after assault by homeless person at bus stop, police say

Brianna’s father slams politicians for ‘crime spike’

01:30 , Oliver O’Connell

The father of UCLA student Brianna Kupfer who was fatally stabbed in a Los Angeles furniture store has hit out at politicians for failing to curb surging crime.

Talking to Fox News, the deceased woman’s father Todd Kupfer said: “Crime is truly spiking, and we have a lot of criminals on the streets that should not be out.”

Arpan Rai reports.

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

Brianna Kupfer: Father of student stabbed to death slams politicians for crime spike

Video: Suspect walks calmly away from store after killing

00:30 , Oliver O’Connell

Police hunting for the killer of UCLA grad student Brianna Kupfer have released a new video of the suspect.

Bevan Hurley reports.

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

New video of Brianna Kupfer suspect released as police appeal for help

Hancock Park

00:00 , Oliver O’Connell

The murder of Ms Kupfer has shocked residents of the affluent Hancock Park neighbourhood.

Situated in the Wilshire area, it sits to the south of Hollywood and Melrose, and to the east of La Brea, approximately four miles west of Downtown Los Angeles.

Centrally-located to the neighbourhood is the Wilshire Country Club. Other nearby landmarks include the LaBrea Tar Pits and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

A sizeable portion of the area is zoned as historically important having been developed in the 1920s. A number of residences of consuls generals are within Hancock Park, including those of Canada, Japan, and the UK — where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stayed on a visit in 2011.

The neighbourhood is approximately 71 per cent White, 13 per cent Asian, eight per cent Hispanic or Latino, four per cent Black, and four per cent mixed race. An estimated 20 per cent of the population is Orthodox Jewish.

Nearby businesses to Croft House, where Ms Kupfer worked, include lighting and plumbing stores, various eateries, a Kosher market, and two Orthodox synagogues.

Grief and anger on social media over killing of UCLA student

Tuesday 18 January 2022 23:30 , Oliver O’Connell

The random killing of UCLA grad student Brianna Kupfer has led to an outpouring of grief and anger on social media as a police manhunt for the suspect reaches its fifth day.

Bevan Hurley reports.

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

Outpouring of grief and anger on social media over killing of Brianna Kupfer

City councilmember: ‘Deep sorrow and sadness … has engulfed us all’

Tuesday 18 January 2022 23:01 , Oliver O’Connell

Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz released a statement on Friday.

The tragic murder of Brianna Kupfer in Hancock Park has shaken our community to its core. There are no words that can express the deep sorrow and sadness that has engulfed us all. My family’s prayers are with Brianna’s family and friends at this time, with my commitment and reassurance that we will find the perpetrator who committed this heinous act and bring him to justice.

My Director of Public Safety was on scene yesterday with LAPD Operations West Bureau Detectives and Wilshire Area Captain Sonia Monico. We are working closely with our law enforcement counterparts to assure they have every resource necessary. LAPD is aware of my full and unconditional support to bring the perpetrator to justice.

Kupfer killing: what happened on Thursday

Tuesday 18 January 2022 22:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Police say Brianna Kupfer, 24, was working alone at the furniture store Croft House in Hancock Park on 13 January when a man wandered into the shop, killed her, and left.

Nathan Place reports.

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

Brianna Kupfer: UCLA student stabbed to death at luxury furniture store in LA

Security guard describes moment Kupfer’s body was found

Tuesday 18 January 2022 22:25 , Oliver O’Connell

Many members of the Hancock Park community have spoken out to share their shock at Ms Kupfer’s killing.

Herman Hinks, who works as a security guard across the street from the Croft House furniture shop, recalled the moment two customers came out of the store after discovering her body.

“I saw them walk out and I just see sheer terror. She was screaming like ‘Oh my God, oh my God,’” Mr Hinks told KABC. “At that point, I was trying to make my way over. There was too much traffic. By that time, police came from everywhere. When I walked that way, you could see through the window and when I looked down, I said: ‘Oh my God, that’s the young lady that works at the store.’”

Mr Hinks remembered Ms Kupfer as “very friendly”.

“I see her every morning. She come in, she opens the shop. Real friendly woman,” he said. “She’ll look back and wave. Everybody over here is friendly. We look out for one another in the area.”

Latest images of suspect

Tuesday 18 January 2022 22:11 , Oliver O’Connell

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent Police have released new images of the suspect in the Brianna Kupfer murder inquiry (LAPD)
Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent Police have released new images of the suspect in the Brianna Kupfer murder inquiry (LAPD)

New images of suspect released as LAPD reveal Brianna texted friend

Tuesday 18 January 2022 22:00 , Oliver O’Connell

The LAPD has released new images of the man suspected of killing UCLA grad student Brianna Kupfer and announced a reward for his capture had increased to $250,000.

A $50,000 reward put up by the city of Los Angeles had grown to $250,000 with donations from private groups and individuals, police revealed at a press conference on Tuesday.

Ms Kupfer, 24, was stabbed to death while working alone at Croft House furniture store in the suburb of Hancock Park last Thursday afternoon.

Police also revealed Ms Kupfer texted a friend to say a customer was “giving her a bad vibe” just before her murder.

Bevan Hurley reports.

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

LAPD release new images of Brianna Kupfer suspect as they increase reward

Reward money tops $250,000

Tuesday 18 January 2022 21:35 , Oliver O’Connell

The Los Angeles Police Department says that at $250,000, the reward for information used to find Ms Kupfer’s killer is one of the largest in recent memory.

#UPDATE A $250,000 dollar reward with contributions from the public and the city is now offered for anyone with information regarding the murder of #BriannaKupfer – LAPD says one of the largest rewards of recent memory. pic.twitter.com/mQMcnFrLJz

— Josh Haskell (@abc7JoshHaskell) January 18, 2022

Tuesday 18 January 2022 21:22 , Oliver O’Connell

Police chief Moore underlines the need for a comprehensive approach to homelessness not just from a law enforcement perspective but from housing and mental health perspectives too.

Councilmember Koretz says that the state of California long ago abandoned responsibility for mental health and it is time that they once again addressed it.

Tuesday 18 January 2022 21:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Brianna texted her friend saying there was someone in the store who was giving her a bad vibe. The recipient of the text did not see it until later.

The suspect has again been described as homeless.

It appears to have been a random act and nothing was taken from the scene.

The murder weapon is confirmed as a knife.

Police chief Michael Moore speaks

Tuesday 18 January 2022 21:12 , Oliver O’Connell

He acknowledges a tough week for the city with Brianna’s murder, the death of nurse Sandra Shells, the discovery of a body of a 1-year-old girl, and the loss of an officer.

Mr Moore says the suspect visited numerous businesses of different sizes, up and down the street and in neighbouring streets before killing Brianna.

He notes that the suspect’s tall, slim stature, backpack and facemask — described more as a painter’s mask than an N95 — are distinctive and he will have been noticed by members of the public.

Councilmember Paul Koretz speaks

Tuesday 18 January 2022 21:07 , Oliver O’Connell

Councilmember Paul Koretz reads a statement from the family.

They call Brianna a rising star in the community who embodied everything great about Los Angeles who lit up any room she was in. She deeply loved her family and friends.

They thank the city council, LAPD, and the whole of the westside community for the outpouring of grief and sympathy at their daughter’s death.

In addition to the $50,000 offered by the city, more than $200,000 has been donated to bring the suspect to justice.

New images of suspect released

Tuesday 18 January 2022 21:02 , Oliver O’Connell

We’re awaiting @LAPDHQ press conference regarding last Thursday’s murder of 24-year-old Brianna Kupfer while she was at work at a Hancock Park furniture store. Here’s a new image of the suspect, $50,000 reward offered @ABC7 pic.twitter.com/ySioifNVdr

— Josh Haskell (@abc7JoshHaskell) January 18, 2022

LAPD press conference expected soon

Tuesday 18 January 2022 20:47 , Oliver O’Connell

We are awaiting the 1pm PST LAPD press conference to officially announce the reward being offered for information to identify Ms Kupfer’s killer.

LAPD police chief Michael Moore, city council member Paul Koretz, and a member of the Kupfer family will attend.

In a statement, the LAPD said: “West Bureau Homicide Detectives are asking the public’s help for information identifying and locating the suspect in a deadly stabbing, which occurred on January 13, 2022 and will announce a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.”

Kupfer’s father condemns politicians for soaring crime

Tuesday 18 January 2022 20:40 , Oliver O’Connell

The slain student’s father, Todd Kupfer, condemned politicians for failing to curb soaring crime in the days after his daughter’s murder.

“Crime is truly spiking, and we have a lot of criminals on the streets that should not be out,” he told Fox News on Monday.

“We have a lot of politicians that somehow forgot about people and think the key to getting elected is to support the lowest rung of our society and to give them rights and somehow that’s the answer to getting votes.”

The Independent’s Arpan Rai reports.

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

Brianna Kupfer: Father of student stabbed to death slams politicians for crime spike

Suspect may have spoken with neighbouring business owner

Tuesday 18 January 2022 20:20 , Oliver O’Connell

A woman who owns a business next door to the store where Ms Kupfer was killed claims she came face-to-face with the suspect moments before the stabbing.

Dr Jennifer Botelho, who runs a chiropractic practice in Hancock Park, said a man matching the suspect’s description came into her store on Thursday afternoon.

“He asked a couple of questions: ‘Do you do orthopedics here?’ What kind of care we provide and then he left. So he was just here for a few minutes,” Dr Botelho told CBS Los Angeles.

She also said that she’s been forced to ramp up security at her business in recent months due to an increase in crime in the neighbourhood.

Offering her condolences to Ms Kupfer’s family, she said: “It’s terrifying. It’s horrible. She’s such a young girl. … We feel so horrible for Brianna’s family, and hope we can catch this guy.”

A doctor with an office next to The Croft House where Brianna Kupfer was killed says the suspect visited her practice before he murdered the 24 year old. Over last year doctor says visits from “not right” people forced her to beef up security and add buzzer to get inside. pic.twitter.com/YcUq9OmWfe

— Jeff Vaughn (@JeffVaughn) January 15, 2022

Sandra Shells: Nurse attacked and killed on same day as Kupfer was about to retire

Tuesday 18 January 2022 20:00 , Oliver O’Connell

A Los Angeles nurse killed in a random attack on the same day that Ms Kupfer was killed was just about to retire, a neighbour has said.

Sandra Shells, 70, died in hospital on 16 January, three days after police say a homeless man assaulted her at a bus stop.

Ms Shells had been a nurse at a local medical centre for 38 years, and her death has left a shocked community trying to make sense of the attack.

Nathan Place reports.

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

LA nurse killed in bus stop attack was about to retire, neighbour says

City councilmember: ‘Deep sorrow and sadness … has engulfed us all’

Tuesday 18 January 2022 19:49 , Oliver O’Connell

Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz released a statement on Friday.

The tragic murder of Brianna Kupfer in Hancock Park has shaken our community to its core. There are no words that can express the deep sorrow and sadness that has engulfed us all. My family’s prayers are with Brianna’s family and friends at this time, with my commitment and reassurance that we will find the perpetrator who committed this heinous act and bring him to justice.

My Director of Public Safety was on scene yesterday with LAPD Operations West Bureau Detectives and Wilshire Area Captain Sonia Monico. We are working closely with our law enforcement counterparts to assure they have every resource necessary. LAPD is aware of my full and unconditional support to bring the perpetrator to justice.

Hancock Park

Tuesday 18 January 2022 19:30 , Oliver O’Connell

The murder of Ms Kupfer has shocked residents of the affluent Hancock Park neighbourhood.

Situated in the Wilshire area, it sits to the south of Hollywood and Melrose, and to the east of La Brea, approximately four miles west of Downtown Los Angeles.

Centrally-located to the neighbourhood is the Wilshire Country Club. Other nearby landmarks include the LaBrea Tar Pits and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

A sizeable portion of the area is zoned as historically important having been developed in the 1920s. A number of residences of consuls generals are within Hancock Park, including those of Canada, Japan, and the UK — where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stayed on a visit in 2011.

The neighbourhood is approximately 71 per cent White, 13 per cent Asian, eight per cent Hispanic or Latino, four per cent Black, and four per cent mixed race. An estimated 20 per cent of the population is Orthodox Jewish.

Nearby businesses to Croft House, where Ms Kupfer worked, include lighting and plumbing stores, various eateries, a Kosher market, and two Orthodox synagogues.

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent Flowers are placed outside Croft House furniture store in memory of graduate student Brianna Kupfer (Getty Images)

Everything we know about Kupfer

Tuesday 18 January 2022 19:00 , Megan Sheets

Ms Kupfer’s slaying at her place of work has shattered the Hancock Park community, where she was known as a “kind soul”, beacon of positivity and role model to young women.

At the time of her death, the 24-year-old was seeking a graduate degree in architectural design at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

She leaves behind her parents and three siblings.

The Independent’s Oliver O’Connell explains everything we know about Ms Kupfer:

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

Who is Brianna Kupfer? Everything we know about slain UCLA grad student

Neighbor shares regret at missing killer

Tuesday 18 January 2022 18:30 , Megan Sheets

A neighbour whose home looks out over the alley behind the store where Ms Kupfer was killed has shared his regret that he didn’t catch a glimpse of the suspect as he fled.

John Harding said he frequently watches the alley for suspicious activity, but was out for a walk when the murder took place on 13 January.

“As I work from home, I just look out the window constantly just to see what is that individual doing? Are they just walking through, or are they looking in someone’s car trying to find a door that’s open to a back gate,” he explained to KABC.

“I took my dog for a walk at the time that this happened and I have a little guilt, if only I had walked at a different time, I might have been able to help identify the individual that did this violence to an innocent individual just doing her job.”

Press conference scheduled for 1pm

Tuesday 18 January 2022 18:00 , Megan Sheets

Los Angeles police will hold a press conference on the Kupfer case at 1pm local time on Tuesday.

There they will announce a $50,000 reward for information that leads to the capture of the 24-year-old’s killer, the LAPD said in a statement.

The press conference will be attended by Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz, LAPD Chief of Police Michel Moore and a representative of the Kupfer family.

Outpouring of grief and anger on social media

Tuesday 18 January 2022 17:50 , Megan Sheets

The random killing of Ms Kupfer has led to an outpouring of grief and anger on social media as a police manhunt for the suspect continues for a fifth day.

Jessica Lall, a Los Angeles mayoral candidate and CEO of the Central City Association, criticised the city’s response to the recent spate of killings.

“I am both horrified and devastated to hear about a 24-year-old woman who was stabbed to death by a customer,” Ms Lall said in a video posted to social media.

“The response – or lack thereof – to the stabbing of Brianna Kupfer and attack of the nurse at Union Station is absolutely maddening. We need leaders in office who are prepared to step up when such tragedies occur.”

The Independent’s Bevan Hurley has more:

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

Outpouring of grief and anger on social media over killing of Brianna Kupfer

Security guard describes moment Kupfer’s body was found

Tuesday 18 January 2022 17:20 , Megan Sheets

Many members of the Hancock Park community have spoken out to share their shock at Ms Kupfer’s killing.

Herman Hinks, who works as a security guard across the street from the Croft House furniture shop, recalled the moment two customers came out of the store after discovering her body.

“I saw them walk out and I just see sheer terror. She was screaming like ‘Oh my God, oh my God,’” Mr Hinks told KABC. “At that point, I was trying to make my way over. There was too much traffic. By that time, police came from everywhere. When I walked that way, you could see through the window and when I looked down, I said: ‘Oh my God, that’s the young lady that works at the store.’”

Mr Hinks remembered Ms Kupfer as “very friendly”.

“I see her every morning. She come in, she opens the shop. Real friendly woman,” he said. “She’ll look back and wave. Everybody over here is friendly. We look out for one another in the area.”

Case draws comparisons to LA nurse assault

Tuesday 18 January 2022 16:50 , Megan Sheets

On the same day Ms Kupfer was killed, a nurse died after she was assaulted by a homeless person at a bus stop in downtown Los Angeles.

Sandra Shells, 70, was waiting for a bus at Union Station on 13 January when an assailant later identified as Kerry Bell allegedly hit her in the face, knocking her to the ground.

Ms Shells suffered a fractured skull and was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Many reacting on social media have pointed to the deaths of Ms Kupfer and Ms Shells as evidence that crime in the city is out of control.

The Independent’s Nathan Place has more:

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent

LA nurse dies after assault by homeless person at bus stop, police say

Croft House temporarily closes

Tuesday 18 January 2022 16:30 , Megan Sheets

Croft House, the upscale furniture store where Ms Kupfer was killed, has temporarily closed in the wake of the shocking murder.

The closure was announced in an Instagram post which read: “The entire Croft House family is deeply saddened by the devastating loss of our beloved team member on January 13, 2022.

“Our La Brea Avenue showroom will be closed until further notice to allow our team members to grieve and process this unthinkable tragedy and in order for law enforcement to complete their investigation.

“Please keep family, friends, and colleagues in close thought during this difficult time as we mourn, cherish, miss, and honor someone we cared for so much.

“The entire Croft House family sends our love to our team member’s family and friends. Please direct all questions related to this tragic event to the LAPD.”

View this post on Instagram

What we know about the suspect

Tuesday 18 January 2022 16:10 , Megan Sheets

Very little is known about the man wanted for Ms Kupfer’s murder, who was captured on surveillance video leaving her place of work.

Police described him as a Black male of unknown age wearing a dark hoody, sunglasses, a white N-95 mask, dark skinny jeans, dark shoes. He was also carrying a dark backpack in the footage.

Investigators believe the man may have been homeless and was not known to Ms Kupfer.

Anyone with information is urged to contact West Bureau Homicide investigators at (213) 382-9470 or Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.

Brianna Kupfer news - latest: Suspect Shawn Laval Smith arrested in California
© Provided by The Independent Los Angeles police released this photo of the man accused of stabbing Brianna Kupfer to death (Los Angeles Police Department)

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