Police ID suspect in Brianna Kupfer killing


Shawn Laval Smith (Los Angeles Police Dept)

LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — Los Angeles police said Shawn Laval Smith, 31, is suspected of killing Brianna Kupfer at a local store and issued a warrant for his arrest.

Smith should be considered armed and dangerous, an alert from LAPD said.

The warrant comes five days after Kupfer was stabbed to death at the Croft House furniture store she worked at in L.A. The reward in the case has now topped $250,000.

“Somebody knows him, and quite frankly, the size of the reward makes a difference,” retired FBI agent Dennis Franks said on “NewsNation Prime.”

Police say newly released surveillance video shows Smith inside a 7-11 store about half an hour after the murder. He paid for an item and walked away.

“I am confident in the men and women of West Bureau homicide, of the Wiltshire command, and this department to not just stand with this family but to serve this family, by identifying this killer and bringing him before the criminal justice system,” Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore said at a news conference before Smith was named.

Police said they believe Smith was homeless, but is “highly likely” to use public transportation.

They also revealed Kupfer had texted a friend about getting “bad vibes” from a man in the store, but that friend didn’t see it in time.

Nearby business owners declined on-camera interviews with NewsNation, but said some people who are homeless do come into their stores. Some of the businesses are appointment only.

“The perpetrator who took away Brianna from her beloved parents, colleagues, friends and our community will be permanently locked away,” L.A. councilman Paul Koretz said.

Kupfer was a design consultant at Croft House. She was working on her graduate degree in architectural design at UCLA.

Her heartbroken Pacific Palisades family includes her parents and three siblings.

“To me, she’s the epitome of good, like my other children,” her father, Todd Kupfer, said. “And the epitome of evil just takes that away from us.”

A community vigil is planned for Thursday outside the store, at around 1:30 p.m. PT, which is about the time Kupfer was killed.

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