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‘I see a man who looks very similar to the suspect in the Kupfer stabbing’: police release 911 call


Police in California have released the audio of the 911 call that led to the arrest of the career criminal charged with the murder of 24-year-old Brianna Kupfer, who was stabbed to death inside the furniture store where she worked in what is believed to have been a random attack.

Kupfer was killed on January 13 at Croft House, an upscale furniture store on North La Brea Avenue in central Los Angeles.

Police announced on Tuesday that their main suspect was Shawn Laval Smith, 31, a homeless South Carolina native known for attacking police officers and strangers, who had a rap sheet of at least 11 arrests in his home state and two in California. 

On Wednesday, a man recognized Smith near a bus stop in Pasadena and called the police, saying he was wearing the same distinctive backpack as that seen when he bought a vape pen in a 7-Eleven store – just 30 minutes after Kupfer’s murder. 

‘Hello, I am calling because I see a gentleman who looks very similar to the suspect in the Kupfer stabbing in L.A.,’ the caller states. 

‘I’m in Pasadena. He just walked past the corner of Green and Terrace, in Pasadena.’

Brianna Kupfer, 24, was murdered on January 13 in a central Los Angeles furniture boutique

Brianna Kupfer, 24, was stabbed to death in a random attack on January 13 while she was working alone in a luxury furniture store in Los Angeles. She had texted a friend to say someone in the shop was 'giving her a bad vibe'

Smith in an undated mugshot

Brianna Kupfer, 24, was stabbed to death in a random attack on January 13 while she was working alone in a luxury furniture store in Los Angeles. She had texted a friend to say someone in the shop was ‘giving her a bad vibe’. Smith is pictured right in an undated mugshot

A still photo from surveillance video shows a suspect in UCLA student Brianna Kupfer's murder buying a vape pen at a 7-Eleven just 30 minutes after the January 13 stabbing

A still photo from surveillance video shows a suspect in UCLA student Brianna Kupfer’s murder buying a vape pen at a 7-Eleven just 30 minutes after the January 13 stabbing 

The suspect dressed in all black walked into  a store located about four miles from the crime scene where Kupfer was found dead

The suspect dressed in all black walked into  a store located about four miles from the crime scene where Kupfer was found dead 

The suspect was last seen carrying a backpack and wearing mirrored glasses 

Surveillance video released by the police captured the man identified as Smith strolling into a 7-Eleven located at Beverly Boulevard and Wilshire Boulevard – about four miles from the crime scene – and handing a sales clerk cash to buy a vape pen. 

The man in the video, wearing all black, except for a white dust mask commonly worn by house painters, does not appear in a hurry as he places a bill on the counter and counts a handful of coins. 

At one point, he briefly lowers his mask.

The store worker hands him the vape pen and the suspect walks away, but he immediately returns and apparently asks to exchange the vaping device for another one.   

Fox News captured the moment Shawn Smith was arrested for the brutal, unprovoked stabbing of a 24-year-old student

Fox News captured the moment Shawn Smith was arrested for the brutal, unprovoked stabbing of a 24-year-old student

Shawn Laval Smith, 31, was taken into custody by Pasadena, police Wednesday in connection with the murder of Brianna Kupfer in nearby Los Angeles. He has a lengthy rap sheet

Shawn Laval Smith, 31, was taken into custody by Pasadena, police Wednesday in connection with the murder of Brianna Kupfer in nearby Los Angeles. He has a lengthy rap sheet

He's pictured being led away in handcuffs in Pasadena on January 19; police said he was arrested peacefully and did not struggle with officers

He’s pictured being led away in handcuffs in Pasadena on January 19; police said he was arrested peacefully and did not struggle with officers

Smith has a prolific criminal record, with dozens of prior charges in North Carolina and South Carolina

Smith has a prolific criminal record, with dozens of prior charges in North Carolina and South Carolina

The Los Angeles Police Department announced that Smith was arrested at around 11:50am on Wednesday.

The caller said he saw Smith in a black hoodie, dark sweatpants and the eye-catching backpack.

Smith initially gave a fake name, and the LAPD sent its fugitive unit with a fingerprint reader to Pasadena to confirm Smith’s identity with the device.

The LAPD received more than 1,000 tips since the senseless killing, the source said. 

Smith was taken into custody about 15 miles from the high-end furniture store where Kupfer was killed.  

Brianna was not supposed to be working last Thursday, but she ended up at the store alone

Brianna Kupfer

Brianna was not supposed to be working last Thursday, but she ended up at the store alone. Her father said no one could have predicted that she would be attacked, but lashed out at leaders for failing to protect the community 

Prior to last week’s murder, Smith was arrested and charged with violent crimes in at least three states. 

At the time of Kupfer’s murder, he was free on a $50,000 bond after allegedly firing a weapon toward an occupied vehicle in Charleston, South Carolina, in November 2019.

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.   

He was free on a second $1,000 bond from a misdemeanor arrest in Los Angeles County in October 2020, sheriff’s records show. 

DailyMail.com learned Smith was arrested in Covina, California, on October 27, 2020, and charged for allegedly stealing items from a local Home Depot. He was cited and released, police said.

He was convicted by  San Diego prosecutors in 2017 for carrying a concealed dagger and brandishing a deadly weapon in a fight. He was given three years probation and ordered to pay a $400 fine, according to court records. 

Smith suffered from mental health issues and had a history of violence, Velma Washington – who claimed to be his aunt – told Fox Digital

She said she was not familiar with his diagnoses but ‘he was a good boy’.  

Smith was arrested by Pasadena cops one day after the Los Angeles Police Department put out a call for help finding the 'armed and dangerous' man

Smith was arrested by Pasadena cops one day after the Los Angeles Police Department put out a call for help finding the ‘armed and dangerous’ man

He will be transferred to the Los Angeles Police Department for questioning related to Kupfer's murder

He will be transferred to the Los Angeles Police Department for questioning related to Kupfer’s murder

The LAPD shared its gratitude to the Pasadena Police Department, but have not yet disclosed whether Smith has been charged

The LAPD shared its gratitude to the Pasadena Police Department, but have not yet disclosed whether Smith has been charged

Smith was booked into a Los Angeles jail Wednesday afternoon and is currently being held on a $2million bond

Smith was booked into a Los Angeles jail Wednesday afternoon and is currently being held on a $2million bond

In 2016, Charlotte police issued a public appeal with this DMV photo saying Smith was wanted on '14 active warrants for his arrest for Bicycle thefts' in the area

In 2016, Charlotte police issued a public appeal with this DMV photo saying Smith was wanted on ’14 active warrants for his arrest for Bicycle thefts’ in the area

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.

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

LA crime is on the upswing, according to police statistics. Shooting victims have increased 10.6 percent year-to-year and 53 percent from the same point in 2019

LA crime is on the upswing, according to police statistics. Shooting victims have increased 10.6 percent year-to-year and 53 percent from the same point in 2019

A memorial for Kupfer has formed outside the Croft House in the days following the deadly attack

A memorial for Kupfer has formed outside the Croft House in the days following the deadly attack

A heartfelt note posted to the store's window this week talks about how Kupfer was beloved by her coworkers

A heartfelt note posted to the store’s window this week talks about how Kupfer was beloved by her coworkers

Riley Rea, co-owner of Croft House, told the LA Times that Brianna was beloved by her coworkers at the store where she had worked for a year. 

She added: ‘She was mature beyond her years.’   

A heartfelt note was posted to the store’s window this week that reads: ‘The entire Croft House family is deeply saddened by the devastating loss of our beloved team member on January 13, 2022. Our La Brea Avenue showroom will be closed until further notice to allow our team members to grieve and process this unthinkable tragedy and in order for law enforcement to complete their investigation. 

‘Please keep the family, friends, and colleagues in close thought during this difficult time as we mourn, cherish, miss, and honor someone we care for so much. The entire Croft House family sends our love to our team member’s family and friends. Please direct all questions related to this tragic event to the LAPD.’

At the bottom of the page is a handwritten note that reads: ‘We love you so much.’  



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