Murder on La Brea: suspect arrested, community mourns

| January 27, 2022 | 0 Comments

VIGIL for Brianna Kupfer draws scores of residents and business owners Jan. 20 on La Brea Avenue, just north of Beverly.

A shocking incident at a furniture store in Hancock Park last month has rattled business owners and residents alike.

Brianna Kupfer was killed Jan. 13 while working alone at the Croft House furniture store on N. La Brea Avenue. Just after 1:30 p.m., Kupfer,  24, who was seeking a graduate degree in architectural design at UCLA, texted a friend that someone inside the store “was giving her a bad vibe,” according to Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

About 15 minutes later, a customer entered the location to find Kupfer dead.

Within days, the LAPD had identified Shawn Laval Smith as a suspect in Kupfer’s death. Police allege that Smith entered the location and stabbed Kupfer before fleeing out the back alley of the store.

In response to the grisly incident, a citywide manhunt for Smith began, and Councilmember Paul Koretz made a motion for the city to offer a $50,000 reward, which was increased to $250,000 by contributions from the community.

Smith was arrested on Jan. 19 in Pasadena, according to the LAPD, which said the suspect had been recognized as he was waiting for a bus near Fair Oaks Avenue and Colorado Boulevard.


More than 75 people attended a Jan. 20 vigil in honor of Kupfer, a Pacific Palisades resident. The vigil’s invitation asked residents to “show your support for Brianna and bring awareness for the urgent need to restore safety in our community.” At the event, flowers were left and candles were lit in honor of a life taken too soon.

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