Brianna Kupfer: Outpouring of grief and anger on social media over killing of UCLA student

Angelenos say they are being ‘terrorised’ by soaring homicide and violent crime rates

Bevan Hurley
Tuesday 18 January 2022 17:30
Neighbour of young woman stabbed to death in LA speaks out
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The random killing of UCLA grad student Brianna Kupfer has led to an outpouring of grief and anger on social media as a police manhunt for the suspect reaches its fifth day.

Ms Kupfer, 24, was working alone at furniture store Croft House in Hancock Park when a man wandered into the shop just before 2pm on Thursday afternoon, attacked and killed her, and left through a back door.

The LAPD have said the killer was a homeless man who was not known to Ms Kupfer.

In a separate violent attack on the same day, a homeless man punched nurse Sandra Shells, 70, as she was waiting for a bus at downtown Los Angeles’ Union Station. She later died in hospital.

Ms Kupfer’s father Todd Kupfer has blamed political inaction in the city for the surging crime levels in Los Angeles.

“We have a lot of politicians that somehow forgot about people and think the key to getting elected is to support the lowest rung of our society and to give them rights and somehow that’s the answer to getting votes,” Mr Kupfer said.

Brianna Kupfer’s death has sparked grief and anger among Los Angeles residents

Jessica Lall, a Los Angeles mayoral candidate and CEO of the Central City Association, criticised the city’s response to the recent spate of killings.

“I am both horrified and devastated to hear about a 24-year-old woman who was stabbed to death by a customer,” Ms Lall said in a video posted to social media.

“The response – or lack thereof – to the stabbing of Brianna Kupfer and attack of the nurse at Union Station is absolutely maddening. We need leaders in office who are prepared to step up when such tragedies occur.”

Another mayoral candidate, Karen Bass, said the next mayor’s number one priority would be to reduce crime rates in the city.

“The continuing occurrence of brazen attacks, robberies, and murders like the murder of Brianna Kupfer in Hancock Park this past week, cannot be allowed to terrorise this city,” Ms Bass said.

According to crime statistics from the LAPD, the number of homicides in the city so far in 2021 are up 49 per cent from 2019.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has faced criticism over soaring homicide rates in the city

The Independent has approached LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office for comment.

Others were critical of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón for failing to halt the surging levels of violent crime.

Mr Gascón was elected to the DA’s office in 2020 after promising widespread criminal justice reform and issued a directive that prevented prosecutors from seeking the death penalty, and provided sentencing enhancements or cash bail in non-violent cases.

Mr Gascón has previously stated that the “tough on crime” approach has failed.

Angelenos wrote of their anger at the city’s crime policies on social media, and suggested they may have led to Ms Kupfer’s death.

“The tragic murder of Brianna Kupfer in Hancock Park is yet another death for which blood is on our failed politicians and ‘leaders’ hands,” Justin Saba wrote.

“They have nurtured and fostered a culture of violence and lawlessness in Los Angeles that leaves yet another grieving family.”

Los Angeles police released this photo of the man accused of stabbing Brianna Kupfer to death

Family and friends of Ms Kupfer have also taken to social media to express their grief.

In a touching Instagram tribute, Ms Kupfer’s brother Tucker posted a family photo beside the words: “Rest in peace Brianna we’ll never forget you.”

Ms Kupfer’s colleagues at Croft House said they were “deeply saddened by the devastating loss of our beloved team member”.

“Please keep family, friends, and colleagues in close thought during this difficult time as we mourn, cherish, miss and honour someone we cared for so much.”

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