UCLA Fatal stabbing
Shawn Laval Smith in photos released by police. Photo credit: @LAPDHQ, via Twitter

The man suspected of fatally stabbing a UCLA graduate student in the Hancock Park boutique furniture store where she worked has been arrested in Pasadena.

Pasadena police took Shawn Laval Smith, 31, into custody after receiving a tip from a caller of a possible sighting, Lt. William Grisafe said.

Investigators had sought help in locating Smith, describing him as a homeless man who was expected to be using mass transit and had been previously seen in San Diego and San Francisco, along with Pasadena, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and several other locations in Southern California.

Los Angeles Police Department Officer Lizeth Lomeli said the arrest was made at 11:50 a.m. Wednesday near Fair Oaks and Colorado Boulevard.

Smith was arrested without incident and was transferred to LAPD custody, Grisafe said.

The LAPD identified Smith as a suspect late Tuesday and released photos.

Smith is suspected in the killing of Brianna Kupfer, 24, of Pacific Palisades, who was found dead inside Croft House on North La Brea Avenue at about 1:50 p.m. Thursday.

LAPD Lt. John Radke said Tuesday that Kupfer was alone in the store when she was attacked.

“At 1:36 p.m. in the afternoon, Brianna was working in the store all by herself,” Radke said. “She sent a text to a friend letting her know that there was someone inside the location that was giving her a bad vibe. Regrettably, that person did not see the text immediately.”

Her body was found in the store by a customer about 15 minutes after the text was sent.

“We do believe that the suspect is homeless, and that’s in part because he came on foot, he left on foot,” Radke said. “He’s carrying a backpack, which is consistent with homeless people carrying extra clothing with them and sleeping out on the streets.”

Police said the attack appeared to be completely random, and the suspect did not know the victim. The suspect was seen on surveillance footage after the attack, walking northbound in the alley to the rear of the crime scene.

Police released video from a 7-Eleven store, showing the alleged stabber casually shopping 30 minutes after Kupfer was killed. He was also shopping at other stores before and after the killing, police said.

Fox11 reported that Smith has an extensive criminal history dating back more than a decade, with more than a dozen arrests in three states. The arrests, between 2010-2019 in Charleston, S.C., including a pending case for allegedly discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle, along with trespassing, disorderly conduct, littering, marijuana possession and unlawful entry.

He also allegedly assaulted a police officer in San Mateo.

Smith was arrested in Los Angeles County in October of 2020 on an unspecified misdemeanor charge, according to jail records.

– City News Service

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