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UCLA grad student Brianna Kupfer remembered by community at Hancock Park vigil

By Josh Haskell

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    HANCOCK PARK, Los Angeles (KABC) — Exactly one week from when Brianna Kupfer’s life was cut short, friends, family, co-workers and many who didn’t know the 24-year-old UCLA student gathered Thursday to honor her memory in front of the Hancock Park furniture store where she worked.

“I’m the parent of a girl two years younger than her. It’s shocking to me that this happened here or anywhere in our city for that matter,” said Sherry Gonzalez, a resident of Hancock Park.

Police say Kupfer was murdered by 31-year-old Shawn Laval Smith at the Croft House furniture store on La Brea Avenue.

Smith, a transient, was arrested in Pasadena Wednesday.

“No one here should be dying like this. This is our hometown. We’re better than this,” said a parent named Irena, whose son went to school with Kupfer.

“She went to a great school. She worked so hard. Her parents were so loving,” said Sharone Alperin, a parent with kids the same age as Kupfer.

“I want her name to live on as a legacy. And I want people to see what’s happening and maybe at the end of the day, we can make it a kinder, gentler world out of something like this,” said John Beaver, a family friend of the Kupfers.

Thankful that the suspect is now in custody, those who knew Brianna told Eyewitness News it’s important to be better humans in order to honor her life, support one another and not accept random acts of violence as being OK.

Audio has been released from one of the first 911 calls from a member of the community who spotted the suspect.

“I am calling because I see a gentleman that looks very similar to the suspect in the Kupfer stabbing in L.A. I’m in Pasadena currently,” said the 911 caller.

“What’s the address where the person is sir?” said the 911 operator.

Messages to Brianna Kupfer and calls for change now cover the front of the furniture store. A focus of this vigil: how to end senseless violence in all of our communities.

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