Brianna Kupfer stabbing suspect held in Los Angeles jail on $2M bail, records show

The man accused of stabbing 24-year-old UCLA grad student Brianna Kupfer is being held in a Los Angeles jail cell on $2 million bail, according to online records.

Police in nearby Pasadena arrested Shawn Laval Smith, 31, earlier Wednesday after a pedestrian spotted him hanging out on a park bench near Fair Oaks and Colorado Boulevard and called 911 just before noon PT.

The records show he was booked into jail in Los Angeles at 3:55 p.m.

Aerial images obtained by FOX 11 Los Angeles show police putting him into the back of a police SUV ahead of his expected transfer to LAPD custody.  
(FOX 11)

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Smith, who has a rap sheet spanning two coasts, initially gave a fictitious name, the source said. The LAPD sent its fugitive unit with a fingerprint reader to Pasadena and confirmed Smith’s identity with the device.

He is accused of walking into Croft House, a luxury furniture store on North La Brea Avenue, on Thursday afternoon. Kupfer sent a text message to one of her friends saying she felt uncomfortable due to the stranger in the store – where she was working alone. 

Around 20 minutes later, a customer came in and found her stabbed to death.

“It is tragic and heartbreaking that Brianna Kupfer was murdered while she worked,” Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement Wednesday. “It is a tremendous loss for her family and friends, the community and Los Angeles County. We are working with LAPD and will review the case as soon as it is presented to us.”

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Smith’s aunt told Fox News Digital that Smith suffered from unspecified mental health issues.

“He was a good boy,” said Velma Washington, who identified herself as his aunt and confirmed that the 31-year-old murder suspect had grown up “here and there” in South Carolina.

She said he had a history of mental illness but that she didn’t know much about it.

“I have to call my sister and let her know what’s going on,” Washington told Fox News Digital Wednesday, hanging up without elaborating.

County records show Smith's $2 million bail in an LA jail.

County records show Smith’s $2 million bail in an LA jail.
(Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)

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Court records show that Smith has an extensive criminal record in both North and South Carolina as well as California, where he is now accused of stabbing the 24-year-old interior design student in what police are calling a random attack.

Authorities in Los Angeles said they believed he is now a homeless transient.

Court records indicate that Smith had once lived a more stable life on the East Coast, owning a car, holding a construction job and graduating from college. 

But the records also show mental health concerns and a history of violence ranging from an alleged assault with a deadly weapon to shooting a flare gun at a car with a toddler inside.

The flare gun case stalled for two years due to coronavirus backlogs, court records show. Smith has been out on a fraction of the $50,000 bond – but prosecutors there moved to have it revoked Wednesday shortly before his arrest on a murder charge in Pasadena.

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