Home Scandal and Gossip Brianna Kupfer murder suspect arrested in Pasadena

Brianna Kupfer murder suspect arrested in Pasadena

Shawn Laval Smith arrested
Shawn Laval Smith arrested: Brianna Kupfer UCLA student suspected killer taken into custody by Pasadena police. Image via social media.
Shawn Laval Smith arrested
Shawn Laval Smith arrested: Brianna Kupfer UCLA student suspected killer taken into custody. Suspect pictured moments after last week’s killing.

Shawn Laval Smith arrested: Brianna Kupfer UCLA student suspected killer taken into custody after being nabbed at Pasadena bus stop. 

A career criminal suspected of murdering UCLA grad student, Brianna Kupfer while she worked at a furniture store last week was on Wednesday arrested according to Pasadena police. 

Shawn Laval Smith, 31, was arrested in the California city a day after the Los Angeles Police Department named him as the top suspect in the random, unprovoked slaying of Brianna Kupfer.

Smith’s arrest came a day after authorities offered a record-breaking $250,000 reward for his capture, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed in a Twitter post.

‘We would like to thank the public, the media and our partners at Pasadena PD for their support in apprehending the suspect,’ the post said.

Smith was arrested without incident at a bus stop near Fair Oaks and Colorado Boulevard about 11:50 am, Pasadena Lt. Sean Dawkins. It’s not clear if he was armed.   

Career criminal

Brianna was stabbed to death January 13 while working alone at the Croft House store on La Brea, just minutes after she texted a friend that a man in the store was ‘giving her a bad vibe’.

Smith is a career criminal with a long rap sheet spanning both coasts, and is currently free on a $1,000 bond from a misdemeanor arrest in Los Angeles County in October 2020, sheriff’s records show.   

Smith had previously been 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 is also currently free on a $50,000 bond in Charleston, South Carolina in relation to a November 2019 arrest on suspicion of firing a weapon into an occupied vehicle, court records show. 

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.   

The suspected killer has a prolific criminal record, with dozens of prior charges in North Carolina and South Carolina, public records show.

Shawn Laval Smith arrested
Shawn Laval Smith arrested for murder of Brianna Kupfer UCLA student killer. Images via social media.

Long rap sheet

Smith’s prior charges on the East Coast include assault with a deadly weapon, carrying a concealed weapon, assault on a police officer, trespassing, possession of a stolen vehicle, and misdemeanors for larceny and possession of stolen goods. The outcomes of those cases weren’t immediately clear.  

He has a history of failing to appear in court, and has been repeatedly arrested on bench warrants. In one case in Charleston, he was convicted in abstentia after skipping court, and does not appear to have served the sentence, which is sealed in court records.  

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. Smith has been recently seen in Pasadena, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Covina, San Diego and San Francisco, police said. 

‘He is highly likely to be using public transportation. Special attention should be given to bus stops and train platforms,’ the LAPD previously said. 

Shawn Laval Smith arrested
Shawn Laval Smith arrested. Pictured Brianna Kupfer suspected killer moments after her murder last week.

No known motive

The attack appears to be random, with no known connection between the victim and her murderer and no clear motive for the slaying. 

Police say the wanted man was seen walking all throughout the area and entering several stores, speculating that he chose to attack Brianna after he found her working alone.   

On Tuesday, authorities also announced a $250,000 reward for information leading to the murder suspect’s arrest  –  with $200,000 coming from community donations and the rest from city funds. 

LAPD Chief Michel Moore described the male suspect as African-American, 6 feet to 6 feet 5 inches tall, with a thin build and short dreadlocks.  

He was last seen wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, dark pants, black tennis shoes and mirrored sunglasses, and carrying a black backpack. 

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