Loved ones gathered to commemorate what would have been the 25th birthday of a woman who was murdered in an upscale Los Angeles furniture store earlier this year.
It’s been nearly three months since Brianna Kupfer, 24, was stabbed to death in a broad daylight attack in Hancock Park, as previously reported. To honor what would have been her 25th birthday, dozens of relatives and friends gathered for a charity run on Saturday, local outlet ABC 7 News reported.
The Brianna Kupfer Foundation invited the public to “run, walk, take a dance, yoga, or stretch class, or all of the above” to honor the slain student at the Brentwood School football field, according to the website. The foundation vows to give proceeds to select community-based charities aimed at fighting violence against women, among other missions.
“It’s hard to live in a world where evil wins over good, but this foundation is meant to serve as a representation of the world Brianna deserved and wanted,” the website stated. “We will be championing causes dear to Brianna, such as environmental and social justice issues, as well as honoring victims like Brianna through the protection of women and social betterment.”
On the afternoon of Jan. 13, the Pacific Palisades woman was found dead by a customer at the Croft House, where she worked. Shortly after the attack, the then-unidentified assailant was captured on surveillance video fleeing from the business’s back door.
On Jan. 19, police arrested Shawn Laval Smith, 31, less than one day after the LAPD identified him as the prime suspect in Kupfer’s fatal stabbing.
Police previously stated that Smith was “believed to be homeless” and that Kupfer’s murder was a “random” attack. Smith was officially charged on Jan. 21 with one count of murder and a “special allegation that he used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón stated.
Smith allegedly lives with mental illness and has a lengthy rap sheet dating back to 2010, as previously reported. At the time of Kupfer’s murder, he was out on bond pending trial in South Carolina for discharging a flare gun into a moving vehicle with a toddler inside back in 2019. Other charges on the east coast included assault on a police officer and assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill.
Smith was previously found incompetent to stand trial when charged in 2021 for vandalizing a car and assaulting a police officer in Daly City, California. Smith was later restored to competency in May but then failed to report to his probation officer.
He managed to live under the radar until being identified as a suspect in Kupfer’s murder.
“We believe that Brianna was and continues to be a guiding light of pure love and that with more love in this world, we can transform it into one she would be proud of,” the foundation wrote. “It starts with the family and with the community, and if we love each other and this earth as fiercely as Brianna did, we can mold this world into a better place.”
Brianna Kupfer’s father, Todd Kupfer, spoke with local reporters from the event.
“She was a person that just lived, in my view, like a pure life,” Kupfer’s father told ABC 7. “She was really good with people and good with everybody, and was really caring.”
Shawn Laval Smith is currently being held on $2 million bail.
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