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Brianna Kupfer news – latest: LAPD offer reward as comparisons made to same-day attack on retiring nurse

Neighbour of young woman stabbed to death in LA speaks out

A manhunt is underway for a suspect accused of stabbing 24-year-old Brianna Kupfer to death at the furniture store where she worked in Los Angeles.

Ms Kupfer, a graduate student at the University of California – Los Angeles, was alone on a shift at the Croft House showroom on 13 January when a masked man walked in and attacked her, police said. She was found bleeding out on the floor by a customer 20 minutes later and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Nearly a week later, the assailant, believed to be a homeless man, is still at large after surveillance video captured him leaving the shop through a back door and walking calmly down an alley.

A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to his capture.

Investigators said Ms Kupfer, who hailed from Pacific Palisades and worked as a design consultant for the high-end retailer, appeared to have been targeted at random.

Her heartbroken father, Todd Kupfer, spoke out about the tragedy on Monday and blamed politicians’ failure to curb surging crime in the city. On the same day, a soon-to-retire nurse was fatally attacked while waiting for a bus downtown.

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Suspect may have spoken with neighbouring business owner

A woman who owns a business next door to the store where Ms Kupfer was killed claims she came face-to-face with the suspect moments before the stabbing.

Dr Jennifer Botelho, who runs a chiropractic practice in Hancock Park, said a man matching the suspect’s description came into her store on Thursday afternoon.

“He asked a couple of questions: ‘Do you do orthopedics here?’ What kind of care we provide and then he left. So he was just here for a few minutes,” Dr Botelho told CBS Los Angeles.

She also said that she’s been forced to ramp up security at her business in recent months due to an increase in crime in the neighbourhood.

Offering her condolences to Ms Kupfer’s family, she said: “It’s terrifying. It’s horrible. She’s such a young girl. … We feel so horrible for Brianna’s family, and hope we can catch this guy.”

Oliver O’Connell18 January 2022 20:20


Sandra Shells: Nurse attacked and killed on same day as Kupfer was about to retire

A Los Angeles nurse killed in a random attack on the same day that Ms Kupfer was killed was just about to retire, a neighbour has said.

Sandra Shells, 70, died in hospital on 16 January, three days after police say a homeless man assaulted her at a bus stop.

Ms Shells had been a nurse at a local medical centre for 38 years, and her death has left a shocked community trying to make sense of the attack.

Oliver O’Connell18 January 2022 20:00


City councilmember: ‘Deep sorrow and sadness … has engulfed us all’

Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz released a statement on Friday.

The tragic murder of Brianna Kupfer in Hancock Park has shaken our community to its core. There are no words that can express the deep sorrow and sadness that has engulfed us all. My family’s prayers are with Brianna’s family and friends at this time, with my commitment and reassurance that we will find the perpetrator who committed this heinous act and bring him to justice.

My Director of Public Safety was on scene yesterday with LAPD Operations West Bureau Detectives and Wilshire Area Captain Sonia Monico. We are working closely with our law enforcement counterparts to assure they have every resource necessary. LAPD is aware of my full and unconditional support to bring the perpetrator to justice.

Oliver O’Connell18 January 2022 19:49


Hancock Park

The murder of Ms Kupfer has shocked residents of the affluent Hancock Park neighbourhood.

Situated in the Wilshire area, it sits to the south of Hollywood and Melrose, and to the east of La Brea, approximately four miles west of Downtown Los Angeles.

Centrally-located to the neighbourhood is the Wilshire Country Club. Other nearby landmarks include the LaBrea Tar Pits and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

A sizeable portion of the area is zoned as historically important having been developed in the 1920s. A number of residences of consuls generals are within Hancock Park, including those of Canada, Japan, and the UK — where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stayed on a visit in 2011.

The neighbourhood is approximately 71 per cent White, 13 per cent Asian, eight per cent Hispanic or Latino, four per cent Black, and four per cent mixed race. An estimated 20 per cent of the population is Orthodox Jewish.

Nearby businesses to Croft House, where Ms Kupfer worked, include lighting and plumbing stores, various eateries, a Kosher market, and two Orthodox synagogues.

Flowers are placed outside Croft House furniture store in memory of graduate student Brianna Kupfer

(Getty Images)

Oliver O’Connell18 January 2022 19:30


Everything we know about Kupfer

Ms Kupfer’s slaying at her place of work has shattered the Hancock Park community, where she was known as a “kind soul”, beacon of positivity and role model to young women.

At the time of her death, the 24-year-old was seeking a graduate degree in architectural design at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

She leaves behind her parents and three siblings.

The Independent’s Oliver O’Connell explains everything we know about Ms Kupfer:

Megan Sheets18 January 2022 19:00


Neighbor shares regret at missing killer

A neighbour whose home looks out over the alley behind the store where Ms Kupfer was killed has shared his regret that he didn’t catch a glimpse of the suspect as he fled.

John Harding said he frequently watches the alley for suspicious activity, but was out for a walk when the murder took place on 13 January.

“As I work from home, I just look out the window constantly just to see what is that individual doing? Are they just walking through, or are they looking in someone’s car trying to find a door that’s open to a back gate,” he explained to KABC.

“I took my dog for a walk at the time that this happened and I have a little guilt, if only I had walked at a different time, I might have been able to help identify the individual that did this violence to an innocent individual just doing her job.”

Megan Sheets18 January 2022 18:30


Press conference scheduled for 1pm

Los Angeles police will hold a press conference on the Kupfer case at 1pm local time on Tuesday.

There they will announce a $50,000 reward for information that leads to the capture of the 24-year-old’s killer, the LAPD said in a statement.

The press conference will be attended by Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz, LAPD Chief of Police Michel Moore and a representative of the Kupfer family.

Megan Sheets18 January 2022 18:00


Outpouring of grief and anger on social media

The random killing of Ms Kupfer has led to an outpouring of grief and anger on social media as a police manhunt for the suspect continues for a fifth day.

Jessica Lall, a Los Angeles mayoral candidate and CEO of the Central City Association, criticised the city’s response to the recent spate of killings.

“I am both horrified and devastated to hear about a 24-year-old woman who was stabbed to death by a customer,” Ms Lall said in a video posted to social media.

“The response – or lack thereof – to the stabbing of Brianna Kupfer and attack of the nurse at Union Station is absolutely maddening. We need leaders in office who are prepared to step up when such tragedies occur.”

The Independent’s Bevan Hurley has more:

Megan Sheets18 January 2022 17:50


Security guard describes moment Kupfer’s body was found

Many members of the Hancock Park community have spoken out to share their shock at Ms Kupfer’s killing.

Herman Hinks, who works as a security guard across the street from the Croft House furniture shop, recalled the moment two customers came out of the store after discovering her body.

“I saw them walk out and I just see sheer terror. She was screaming like ‘Oh my God, oh my God,’” Mr Hinks told KABC. “At that point, I was trying to make my way over. There was too much traffic. By that time, police came from everywhere. When I walked that way, you could see through the window and when I looked down, I said: ‘Oh my God, that’s the young lady that works at the store.’”

Mr Hinks remembered Ms Kupfer as “very friendly”.

“I see her every morning. She come in, she opens the shop. Real friendly woman,” he said. “She’ll look back and wave. Everybody over here is friendly. We look out for one another in the area.”

Megan Sheets18 January 2022 17:20


Case draws comparisons to LA nurse assault

On the same day Ms Kupfer was killed, a nurse died after she was assaulted by a homeless person at a bus stop in downtown Los Angeles.

Sandra Shells, 70, was waiting for a bus at Union Station on 13 January when an assailant later identified as Kerry Bell allegedly hit her in the face, knocking her to the ground.

Ms Shells suffered a fractured skull and was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Many reacting on social media have pointed to the deaths of Ms Kupfer and Ms Shells as evidence that crime in the city is out of control.

The Independent’s Nathan Place has more:

Megan Sheets18 January 2022 16:50

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