Entertainment And News

UCLA Student Noticed A ‘Bad Vibe’ About Her Suspected Killer In Final Text Moments Before Death

Photo: LAPD / LinkedIN
Shawn Laval Smith and Brianna Kupfer

The Fairfax area in Los Angeles has had a historically high rate of crime and has recently been hit by a brutal, senseless crime that was committed against a UCLA student who was working at a local furniture store.

24-year-old Brianna Kupfer was stabbed to death while working alone in the store and her killer remains at large.

Police have identified 31-year-old Shawn Laval Smith who they say could be armed and dangerous.

A $250,000 reward is on offer for information leading to his arrest.

Who is Shawn Laval Smith?

Smith is believed to be homeless and has been seen in multiple cities across Southern California — including Pasadena, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Covina, and San Diego. As well as up north in San Francisco.

He is 6 feet, 2 inches tall and 190 pounds.

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According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Smith has no connection to Kupfer and committed a “random attack,” walking into the furniture store by the name of Croft House.

The furniture store rests in the 300 block of North La Brea Avenue in the Fairfax District, where LAPD responded to the call at 2 p.m. last week on January 13th about a murder that was committed at the store.

Police have revealed from security footage that the crime took place around 1:30 p.m., when Smith entered the store, stabbed Kupfer to death, and then proceeded to exit out of the back door of the store where security footage caught him walking casually toward Oakwood Avenue.

Brianna Kupfer immediately felt something was wrong when Shawn Laval Smith entered the store.

When the man entered the store, Kupfer texted a friend saying that she was getting a "bad vibe" from the man. Unfortunately, the friend didn't get to the text in time, authorities said in a press conference Tuesday.

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Kupfer’s body was discovered in the high-end furniture store by a customer around 20 minutes after she was stabbed. Other customers, friends, and family members grieved her death as well.

"I was just hoping to visit the store and can’t believe the news it’s so terrible it’s so upsetting. I’ve emailed with her a few times she’s a good sales person it’s really upsetting," said Lisa Finkenstaedt, a New York Interior Designer who works with Croft House often. 

"We will find this vicious criminal, we will get him arrested, and we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law," Councilman Paul Koretz said as he announced the reward.

"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 a heartless criminal last Thursday," Koretz read on behalf of Kupfer's family.

"She embodied everything that is great about Los Angeles and the entire city should grieve over this senseless act."

According to the police, there is no known motive at this time, and they are still searching for the suspect who is at large and is believed to still be in the area.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.