Authorities in southern California have identified the suspect in the brutal murder of a 24-year-old UCLA grad student, and have warned residents not to approach him as the search continues.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, the Los Angeles Police Department announced Tuesday night that investigators have identified the suspect in Brianna Kupfer’s murder as 31-year-old Shawn Laval Smith.
On Thursday afternoon, Kupfer was working alone at Croft House, a high-end furniture store in Los Angeles, when a suspect believed to Smith entered the store and fatally stabbed her. Police said at a press conference on Tuesday that Kupfer texted a friend shortly before she was killed, saying that someone in the store was giving her a “bad vibe.” A customer later found Kupfer’s body.
As CBS Los Angeles reports, police believe Smith is a transient without a home, though he appeared well-kept in surveillance images released after Kupfer’s murder. Police reportedly said the suspect should be considered armed and dangerous, and is likely to be using public transportation. The police comments suggest that authorities believe residents should use extra caution while at bus stops and train platforms. Police have said that anyone who sees the suspect should call 911 and avoid approaching him.
Smith is described as 6 feet 2 inches tall weighing 190 pounds. He was wearing dark clothing, a backpack, and a surgical mask on the day of the killing. According to the report, police said that Smith is known to spend time in multiple areas in southern California, as well as San Diego, further south, and San Francisco in northern California. It is not clear if police believe Smith is still in the Los Angeles area.
The attack appears to be random and there is no known motive for the murder.
Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD’s West Bureau Homicide investigators at (213) 382-9470.
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