True Crime News Roundup: Nurse Attacked At Bus Stop Dies In L.A. Hospital Where She Worked For Nearly 4 Decades
Plus: Police arrest the alleged killer of a furniture store employee; a gunman holds four people hostage at a Texas synagogue; the last of three NYC teens is sentenced for an 18-year-old student’s stabbing death; and Miami rapper Wavy Navy Pooh is murdered in a drive-by shooting.
A beloved nurse punched in the face in an unprovoked attack dies three days later.
A nurse who was brutally attacked at a bus stop passed away from her injuries on Jan. 16 at Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, the same hospital where she worked for nearly 40 years. According to the LAPD, three days earlier, Sandra Shells, 70, was waiting for a bus around 5:15 a.m. when the suspect, Kerry Bell, a 48-year-old homeless man, struck her in the face “without provocation and for no reason.” Shells fell to the pavement and fractured her skull. Around 90 minutes later, officers located Bell, who was sleeping not far from where the assault occurred, and arrested him. He was being held for murder on a $2 million bail. “Sandra Shells will forever be remembered for her compassionate care and unmatched dedication to her patients and her community throughout her 38-year career at LAC+USC,” hospital officials said in a statement. Shells’ coworker, Bruce Banares, noted the victim was especially beloved by staffers. “She greeted us every morning while she read her Bible,” he told KTTV. “You knew it was going to be a good day if you worked with her.”
LAPD arrests a suspect in the murder of a 24-year-old furniture store employee.
A man is in custody for allegedly stabbing a UCLA student to death at her job. Police in Pasadena apprehended Shawn Laval Smith, 31, on Jan. 19 after a tipster reported who they believed to be the murder suspect at a bus stop. Smith, who is being held in lieu of $2 million bail, is accused of killing 24-year-old Brianna Kupfer while she was working at the luxury furniture store Croft House on Jan. 13. According to investigators, at 1:36 p.m. that day, Kupfer texted a friend that a person who had come into the store was “giving her a bad vibe.” A customer found Kupfer dead around 20 minutes later. “It’s torn us apart,” said the architecture and design student’s father, Todd Kupfer. “We really don’t know what to do and what steps to take. We just want her life to have more meaning.”
A British national is killed by police during a hostage situation at a Texas synagogue.
An 11-hour standoff at a Texas synagogue ended with the gunman dead and his four hostages unharmed. On the morning of Jan. 15, British national Malik Faisal Akram, 44, took the congregants hostage during morning service at the Colleyville synagogue Congregation Beth Israel. Akram who reportedly battled mental health issues, launched the attack — which FBI director Christopher A. Wray called “an act of terrorism targeting the Jewish community” — in an attempt to free Aafia Siddiqui. In 2010, Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist, was convicted of terrorism charges and sentenced to 86 years in prison, The New York Times reported. In a statement, Gulbar Akram, the gunman’s brother said: “He’s known to police. Got a criminal record. How was he allowed to get a visa and acquire a gun?”
A teenager is sentenced for fatally stabbing an 18-year-old college student in New York City.
The last of three New York City teenagers who pleaded guilty in connection to the death of 18-year-old college student Tessa Majors in a robbery gone wrong was sentenced on Jan. 19. Rashaun Weaver, 16, received 14 years to life behind bars for second-degree murder and first and second-degree robbery for stabbing Majors four times in the chest in December 2019, according to The New York Times. In October, Luchiano Lewis, 16, was sentenced to nine years to life in prison and a third defendant, who was 13 at the time of the slaying and charged as a minor, was ordered to spend 18 months in a juvenile detention facility. Prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos read a statement from the victim’s family at Weaver’s sentencing. “They have no idea what it is like to stumble up a long flight of stairs after being stabbed multiple times in the chest, her phone still in her hand,” he said of the assailants. “They have no idea what it’s like to try and hail an Uber ride while sitting on a city bench after being stabbed. No idea what it is like to bleed to death on a New York City street in the presence of strangers next to a security booth.” The prosecutor noted: “Fourteen years to life is a long time, but at the end of his sentence Rashaun Weaver goes home. Tess never will.”
A rapper is ambushed and fatally shot in Miami.
Rapper Shandler Beaubien, known by his stage name, Wavy Navy Pooh, was gunned down and died while waiting at a traffic light in Miami. On the evening of Jan. 14, the 28-year-old entertainer was with a woman and two young boys, ages 1 and 5, in a Toyota Camry when someone in a Lexus drove up alongside their vehicle and opened fire, striking Beaubien, the Miami Herald reported. His three passengers escaped the incident unharmed. The “M.I.A.M.I. (Murder is a Major Issue)” singer was previously shot and injured in a May 2020 drive-by shooting.