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Suspect in killing of woman at Los Angeles store charged with murder

<i>Los Angeles Police Department</i><br/>Los Angeles police identified Shawn Laval Smith as a suspect in the death of a store employee in the city's Hancock Park neighborhood.
Los Angeles Police Department
Los Angeles police identified Shawn Laval Smith as a suspect in the death of a store employee in the city's Hancock Park neighborhood.

By Stella Chan, CNN

The man suspected of killing Brianna Kupfer while she was alone at work last week was charged Friday with murder, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.

“Those who show no compassion for human life will face serious consequences,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a news release. “The murder of Brianna Kupfer has left Los Angeles County devastated and my office is reaching out to her family to provide any services they may need.”

Pasadena police arrested Shawn Laval Smith, 31, late Wednesday morning in a commercial district known as Old Town and then handed him over to the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) custody. He Is being held on $2 million bail, according to inmate records.

CNN was not immediately able to find lawyer information for Smith, who was expected to be arraigned later Friday. He is charged with one count of murder and a special allegation that he used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife.

Kupfer, 24, was stabbed on January 13 while she was working at a furniture store in Los Angeles’ Hancock Park neighborhood. Her attacker fled down the back alley of the store, the LAPD said Tuesday.

Officials had been offering a $250,000 reward in the case.

Just after 1:30 p.m., Kupfer texted a friend that someone there “was giving her a bad vibe,” Lt. John Radtke of the LAPD said at a news conference. The person receiving the text didn’t see it immediately, he said.

A customer entered the store about 15 minutes later and found Kupfer “on the ground, lifeless, covered in blood,” Radtke said.

The attacker was not known to the victim and was a random walk-in to the store, LAPD said. Police have not released the name of the store but said it’s located in the 300 block of North La Brea Avenue.

Kupfer, from Pacific Palisades, was enrolled in extension courses at UCLA, the university said.

The seemingly random and senseless killing of Kupfer “has shaken and shocked our community to the core,” said Paul Koretz, a city council member.

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CNN’s Theresa Waldrop, Cheri Mossburg, Sarah Moon and Amir Vera contributed to this report.

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