Suspect sought after UCLA grad student stabbed to death at furniture store

LOS ANGELES — Authorities are investigating a deadly and apparently random stabbing Thursday that claimed the life of a University of California, Los Angeles, graduate student, according to multiple reports.

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Police said they found Brianna Kupfer, 24, dead after responding around 2 p.m. to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon at a business on the 300 block of North La Brea Avenue. A customer called authorities after finding Kupfer dead on the floor of the store, according to investigators.

Kupfer had been working alone at the Croft House furniture store where she had been employed for just over a year, the Los Angeles Times reported. The store’s co-owner, Riley Rea, described Kupfer to the newspaper as “smart, confident, calm and beloved by her co-workers.”

“She was mature beyond her years,” he said, according to the Times.

In a statement published on Facebook, Croft House officials said the store’s La Brea Avenue showroom would be “closed until further notice to allow our team members to grieve and process this unthinkable tragedy and in order for law enforcement to complete their investigation.”

Police said Friday that surveillance footage indicated that the person who stabbed Kupfer was “a random walk-in to the store.” He was described as a tall, thin man who wore a dark, hooded sweatshirt, sunglasses, a white N95 mask, dark skinny jeans, dark shoes and a dark backpack. Authorities believe he may be homeless.

Detective Herman Frettlohr told reporters Thursday that the man was the only person in the store with Kupfer at the time of the stabbing, KTLA reported.

“No other witnesses or customers were in the store at the time,” he said.

The man stabbed Kupfer before leaving through a back door. He was last seen heading northbound in the alley behind the shop, police said.

Kupfer, who lived in Pacific Palisades, was pursuing an architectural design degree from UCLA at the time of her death, KCBS-TV reported. Her father, Todd Kupfer, remembered her as a “kind soul” who was “always trying to make herself and everything around her better” in an interview with Fox News.

“She was the kind of person we need on this Earth,” he said, according to the news network. “She was strong and vivacious.”

Police continue to investigate.