Suspect in murder of UCLA grad student has criminal history in the Carolinas

CHARLOTTE — Channel 9 has learned the suspect in brutal murder of 24-year-old UCLA graduate student Brianna Kupfer has ties to -- and a long criminal history in -- the Carolinas.

Kupfer was working at a design studio in Los Angeles on Jan. 13 when police said a man, who is homeless, walked in and stabbed her to death.

Police arrested Shawn Laval Smith Wednesday outside of a restaurant in Pasadena.

Investigators said Smith has a lengthy criminal history that spans both coasts. The Los Angeles Times reports those include an arrest in South Carolina for firing in an occupied vehicle, and an arrest in Charleston County, SC, where he pleaded guilty to resisting or assaulting a police officer and was sentenced to time served.

Channel 9 captured video of Smith being being arrested in Charlotte in 2016. Police said he was responsible for a string of bike thefts that year.

Anchor Allison also learned an assault with a deadly weapon intent to kill charge against Smith was dismissed in Charlotte in 2018. He was accused of assaulting a person with a flare gun.

The prosecutor said the victim did not want to cooperate with the case, and there was no other evidence to identify Smith.

Smith is now in LAPD custody, and is set to face a judge Thursday on murder charges in Kupfer’s killing.

Kupfer’s parents said she was passionate about her career. They plan to create a foundation to honor her memory.

(WATCH: Police search for suspect after UCLA grad student stabbed to death at furniture store)

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