The LAPD have released new images of the man suspected of killing UCLA grad student Brianna Kupfer and announced a reward for his capture had increased to more than $250,000.
A $50,000 reward put up by the city of Los Angeles had swelled with donations from private groups and individuals, police revealed at a press conference on Tuesday.
Ms Kupfer, 24, was stabbed to death while working alone at Croft House furniture store in the suburb of Hancock Park last Thursday afternoon.
Police also revealed Ms Kupfer texted a friend to say a customer was “giving her a bad vibe” just before her murder.
We’re awaiting @LAPDHQ press conference regarding last Thursday’s murder of 24-year-old Brianna Kupfer while she was at work at a Hancock Park furniture store. Here’s a new image of the suspect, $50,000 reward offered @ABC7 pic.twitter.com/ySioifNVdr
— Josh Haskell (@abc7JoshHaskell) January 18, 2022
They revealed the murder weapon was a knife, and that they had unspecified intelligence to suggest the suspect is a homeless man.
LAPD police chief Michael Moore said the suspect visited several businesses on the same neighbourhood where Ms Kupfer was working prior to her death.
Mr Moore said the suspect had a tall, slim stature, was wearing a backpack and facemask, and had a distinctive appearance that would have been noticed by members of the public.
Los Angeles council member Paul Koretz read a statement from the Kupfer family which said: “Brianna, who was born, educated and was building her career here in Los Angeles, was a rising star in this community whose ascent was unnecessarily cut short by the actions of a heartless criminal last Thursday.
“In many ways she embodied everything that was great about Los Angeles and the entire city should grieve over this senseless act.
“Brianna was a smart, driven, funny and kind soul who only wanted to better herself and her community on a daily basis.
“While she could be shy at times, she lit up any room she was in, and strove to elevate everyone she met so they could be better versions of themselves.
“She deeply loved her familyand friends, and made every day better simply by her presence.
“We’ll miss her greatly, and there won’t be a day that goes by that we don’t think of her.”
The family thanked members of the Westside community who donated $200,000 to helping to find Ms Kupfer’s killer, and expressed the hope that he would be apprehended and convicted.
“Please take the time to hug and cherish your family today, as Brianna would have wanted, and in her everlasting memory, work at the grassroots level to make our communities better everyday.”
Mr Koretz added that he had sought the $50,000 reward from the city on Thursday morning.
“This horrible murder is an attack on our way of life, our civil society and our neighbourhood,” he said.