Brianna Kupfer murder: UCLA student suffered 26 stab wounds in brazen daytime attack, autopsy reveals

Brianna Kupfer, the UCLA graduate student killed in a random daytime attack at a luxury furniture store in Hancock Park in January, was stabbed 26 times, her newly released autopsy has revealed.

Shawn Laval Smith, 31, is accused of fatally stabbing Kupfer on Jan. 13 while she was working inside the Croft House boutique furniture store in the 300 block of North La Brea Avenue. 

Shawn Laval Smith (LAPD)

The autopsy showed Kupfer, 24, suffered 46 sharp force injuries, consisting of 26 stab wounds and 20 incised wounds. She suffered 11 stabs to the chest, two in the abdomen, one to the pelvis, two on her right arm, five on her left arm, two on her right leg and three on her left leg. All of the stab wounds were said to be about five inches deep.

Her manner of death was ruled a homicide and her cause of death was sharp force injuries.


According to investigators, Kupfer was working alone inside the furniture store when a man entered the business. She texted a friend saying that she was getting a "bad vibe" from the man, but unfortunately, the friend didn't get the text in time, authorities said. A short time later, the man attacked her with a knife. The Los Angeles Police Department said the suspect was a "random walk in to the store."

After the attack, Smith was seen on surveillance video walking away from the store through a rear alley. Surveillance cameras also caught him casually shopping about 30 minutes later at a nearby 7-Eleven store. He was also spotted shopping at other stores before and after the killing, police said.

About 20 minutes later, a customer came in and found Kupfer dead in a puddle of blood on the floor of the store.

Smith was arrested on Jan. 19 in Pasadena following a weeklong manhunt fueled by $250,000 in reward money, according to the LAPD. He was then charged with murder, and the charge includes an allegation that he used a knife in the commission of the crime. His next court appearance is on Monday, August 8.

Smith has a lengthy rap sheet with previous charges out of CaliforniaNorth Carolina and South Carolina. Online records obtained by FOX News show at least 11 arrests in Charleston, S.C., dating back to 2010, including a pending case for allegedly discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle on Nov. 13, 2019. 

Kupfer went to Brentwood High School and the Universities of Miami and Sydney. Her Dad described her as their sweet angel, smart, devoted to her family, with lots of friends, big dreams and her whole life ahead of her.