Posted on January 19, 2022

LAPD Identifies Brianna Kupfer’s ‘Killer’ as a Career Criminal With Dozens of Arrests

Keith Griffith and Snejana Farberov, Daily Mail, January 19, 2022

Los Angeles police have identified the suspect wanted in the fatal stabbing of UCLA grad student Brianna Kupfer, who was brutally slain at her job in a luxury furniture store.

Brianna Kupfer

Brianna Kupfer

Shawn Laval Smith, 31, was named by LAPD on Tuesday night as the suspect captured on video in chilling footage as he calmly purchased a vape pen from a 7-Eleven just 30 minutes after the cold-blooded murder.

Shawn Laval Smith

Shawn Laval Smith

‘He should be considered armed and dangerous. If seen do not approach, call 911,’ police said in a statement.

Brianna was stabbed to death on Thursday afternoon while working alone at the Croft House store on La Brea, just minutes after she texted a friend that a man in the store was ‘giving her a bad vibe’.

Smith is a career criminal with a long rap sheet spanning both coasts, and is currently free on a $1,000 bond from a misdemeanor arrest in Los Angeles County in October 2020, sheriff’s records show. can now reveal that Smith was arrested in Covina, California, on October 27, 2020, on a charge of possession of stolen property, a misdemeanor.

A spokesperson for the Covina Police Department said that Smith was cited and released. It was also unclear why the case still hadn’t been brought to a trial or a plea deal 15 months later.

A spokesperson for Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, who took office in December 2020 with a vow to stop prosecuting many misdemeanors, did not immediately respond to an inquiry from on Tuesday night.

Jonathan Hatami, a veteran Los Angeles County prosecutor who has been an outspoken critic of Gascon and even sued him for retaliation last year, hit out at his boss in the wake of Kupfer’s killing, arguing that his progressive policies are failing the community, and that he deserves to be voted out, along with other ‘woke’ DAs in cities with rising crime rates.

‘No parent should ever have to bury their child,’ Hatami tweeted on Tuesday. ‘But, if you do lose a child to violence, we must have a DA who is willing to stand up and fight for the victims and prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law. Every victim deserves a voice and we all deserve justice.’

Smith is also currently free on a $50,000 bond in Charleston, South Carolina in relation to a November 2019 arrest on suspicion of firing a weapon into an occupied vehicle, court records show.

An indictment in that case was handed down on March 16, 2020, just before COVID-19 paralyzed the courts, and the docket shows no further action on the case.

The suspected killer has a prolific criminal record, with dozens of prior charges in North Carolina and South Carolina, public records show.

Smith’s prior charges on the East Coast include assault with a deadly weapon, carrying a concealed weapon, assault on a police officer, trespassing, possession of a stolen vehicle, and misdemeanors for larceny and possession of stolen goods. The outcomes of those cases weren’t immediately clear.

He has a history of failing to appear in court, and has been repeatedly arrested on bench warrants. In one case in Charleston, he was convicted in abstentia after skipping court, and does not appear to have served the sentence, which is sealed in court records.

In 2016, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department issued a public appeal for information about Smith, saying he was wanted on ’14 active warrants for his arrest for Bicycle thefts he has committed in the Charlotte area.’

More recently, in California, Smith has charges in San Francisco and San Mateo, where he was accused of assaulting a police officer, a law enforcement source told Fox News.

His most recent arrest appears to be for shoplifting, the source said. Smith has been recently seen in Pasadena, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Covina, San Diego and San Francisco, police said.

‘He is highly likely to be using public transportation. Special attention should be given to bus stops and train platforms,’ the LAPD said.

Earlier, at a Tuesday press conference, LAPD Lt. John Radke revealed that minutes before she was killed, Brianna had texted a friend to say someone in the store was ‘giving her a bad vibe’.

The shocking attack appears to be random, with no known connection between the victim and her murderer and no clear motive for the slaying.

Despite his neat and well-kept appearance, cops say they strongly suspect the suspect is homeless, based on his travel on foot as well as information they declined to reveal.

Police say the wanted man was seen walking all throughout the area and entering several stores, speculating that he chose to attack Brianna after he found her working alone.

Brianna, 24, was working alone at the luxury Croft House furniture store in LA’s upmarket Fairfax neighborhood on Thursday when the killer entered at about 1.50pm and stabbed her to death before making his escape through the back door.

Twenty minutes later, another customer walked into the store and found her in a pool of blood. By the time police arrived, she was dead.

On Tuesday, authorities also announced a $250,000 reward for information leading to the murder suspect’s arrest – with $200,000 coming from community donations and the rest from city funds.


Kupfer’s father has revealed that his daughter was not supposed to be working on the day she was stabbed inside a high-end furniture store – and he laid some blame for her death on politicians and their skewed priorities.

‘I blame what’s endemic in our society right now, is that everybody seems to be oriented on giving back rights and bestowing favor on people that rob others of their rights,’ Todd Kupfer told Fox News.

Kupfer said he is not blaming any politicians by name, but he argued that their job is ‘to make communities better, to make people care more, not to tear down communities by exposing them to people that are falling out the bottom, that really don’t care about other human beings and just think they can do whatever they like in our society.’


The murder comes amid a huge crime surge in Los Angeles, with homicides in Los Angeles rising 52 per cent last year from 2019, and shooting incidents were up 59 per cent, according to LAPD data.

Kupfer says he believes politicians are ignoring this spike in violent crime.

‘We need to champion [my daughter] as a beacon of what’s wrong and make sure that people recognize that – because it could be their children next, and it’s just an impossible price to pay,’ he said.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón is under fire for failing to crack down on the recent spike in violence.

He won over voters last year with promises of sweeping criminal justice reforms that critics say put the interests of criminals before the safety of the community, Fox News reported.