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Brianna Kupfer’s father reveals moment he learned of murder and says video of killer shows he has ‘no remorse’

Huge manhunt is underway to track down Shawn Laval Smith who is suspected of murdering Brianna Kupfer in LA on 13 January

Rachel Sharp
Wednesday 19 January 2022 20:18 GMT
Brianna Kupfer’s father Todd Kupfer says he wants to see her killer ‘off the street’
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The grieving father of UCLA graduate student Brianna Kupfer has spoken out about the moment he learned his daughter had been murdered and has said surveillance footage of her suspected killer shows he has “no remorse”.

Todd Kupfer told ABC News on Wednesday that he didn’t want to believe what he was hearing when police officers delivered the news of his 24-year-old daughter’s brutal death.

“It was 30 minutes, but it felt like days,” he said of the moment.

“You don’t want to hear it and you don’t want to believe it. You process it a little bit and ... it’s the worse feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”

Ms Kupfer was savagely stabbed to death on the afternoon of 13 January while she was working alone on a shift at luxury furniture store Croft House on La Brea Avenue, an affluent area of Los Angeles.

A customer entered the store around 20 minutes after the attack and found the 24-year-old bleeding on the ground. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

A massive manhunt is now underway for her killer, with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) identifying 31-year-old Shawn Laval Smith on Tuesday night as the suspect wanted for her murder.

Police warned the public that Mr Smith, who has a string of prior convictions, should be considered “armed and dangerous”.

Ms Kupfer is believed to have been targeted at random by the assailant and had texted a friend moments before her murder saying a man with a “bad vibe” had entered the store, said the LAPD.

Brianna Kupfer was stabbed to death on 13 January while working in a luxury furniture store (LinkedIn)

Surveillance footage, released to the public before the suspect was named, captured Mr Smith casually strolling out of the back exit of the furniture store and walking through an alley way minutes after the attack took place.

Mr Smith, who police believe is homeless, was then picked up on surveillance footage around 30 minutes inside a 7-Eleven store buying several items including a vape pen from a cashier.

Mr Kupfer said that watching the surveillance footage of his daughter’s suspected killer calmly acting as though nothing had happened shows he is not someone “that cared”.

“It just feels as if he did this without remorse,” he said.

“The limited video evidence we were able to see didn’t look like somebody that cared for an act of incredible violence that had just occurred.”

Mr Kupfer added: “We would love to see this guy off the street.”

Shawn Laval Smith was identified by LAPD officers as the suspected killer (Los Angeles Police Department)

He described his daughter as a “kind soul” and a “quiet type” who was working at the furniture store while studying architectural design at UCLA.

“She was just a kind soul. She was very selfless. If anything, she was self-critical,” he said.

“She shouldn’t have been. She was just a wonderful human being.”

Mr Kupfer thanked the community for the support they had shown his family as they come to terms with her death.

“It’s damaged my family greatly, but we feel the love through all these people,” he said.

Now, almost one week on from Ms Kupfer’s murder, the only suspect is still on the loose.

LAPD homicide detectives release footage to identify Brianna Kupfer murder suspect

Court records show that Mr Smith has a long criminal history with arrests spanning the US from South Carolina to California including charges of assaulting a police officer and firing a weapon into a vehicle.

At the time of Ms Kupfer’s murder, he appears to have been out on $1,000 bond for a misdemeanour charge in LA in October 2020.

A reward for information leading to the killer’s arrest has topped $250,000, after members of the public made private donations to top up the city’s $50,000 reward.

Anyone with information is urged to contact LAPD West Bureau Homicide at 213-382-9470 or 213-484-6700 for after business hours. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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