Suspect in Hancock Park Fatal Stabbing Arrested in Pasadena

Hancock Park stabbing suspect

The man suspected of fatally stabbing a 24-year-old UCLA graduate student in the Hancock Park boutique furniture store where she worked was arrested Wednesday in Pasadena.

Shawn Laval Smith, 31, was arrested after Pasadena police received a tip from a caller of a possible sighting.

The arrest was made at 11:50 a.m. near Fair Oaks and Colorado Boulevard, across the street from the Cheesecake Factory where Smith had earlier gone in to use the restroom. Employees recognized him from a post they saw on Instagram.

The LAPD had identified Smith as a suspect Tuesday night and released photos that were then spread on social media.

Smith is accused of killing Brianna Kupfer of Pacific Palisades, who was found dead inside Croft House in the 300 block of North La Brea Avenue at about 1:50 p.m. Thursday.

Kupfer was alone in the store when she was attacked.

Hancock Park victim

According to police, at 1:36 p.m. in the afternoon, Kupfer was working in the store all by herself. She sent a text to a friend letting her know that there was someone inside the location that was giving her a bad vibe. The recipient was not able to immediately read the text.

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

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

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

The killing set off a massive manhunt, with authorities offering $250,000 in reward money for information leading to Smith’s capture. Private donations amassed $200,000, while Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz asked his council colleagues Tuesday to add $50,000 to the amount.

Local news organizations have reported that Smith has an extensive criminal history dating back more than a decade, with more than a dozen arrests in three states.

Smith had nearly a dozen arrests in the years 2010-2019 in Charleston, South Carolina, including a pending case for allegedly discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle. His other arrests included allegations of trespassing, disorderly conduct, littering, marijuana possession and unlawful entry.

Smith was also a suspect in a rash of bicycle thefts in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He also allegedly assaulted a police officer in San Mateo, California. Smith was arrested in Los Angeles County in October of 2020 on an unspecified misdemeanor charge, according to jail records.