[UPDATED with 10 New Developments:] Monica Quan, Titans Basketball Coach, and Fiance Keith Lawrence Found Shot to Death
See Update Nos. 3-4 on page 3 about social media reactions to the tragedy and 10 new developments via police and media reports.
See Update Nos. 1-2 on page 2 about CSUF and Concordia University mourning the loss of the couple, more details about each, video from a press conference by the Titans women's basketball coach and a statement from USC.
ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 4, 10:31 A.M.: Irvine, a.k.a. "America's Safest City," is not known for major crimes, let along double murders, but police there are dealing with a doozy this morning involving an engaged couple found shot to death last night in the rooftop parking structure of their condominium building with units going for up to $1 million. The slain woman was Monica Quan, 28, a Cal State Fullerton women's basketball assistant coach and former standout player at Concordia University, Long Beach State and Walnut High School.
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A passerby noticed two people slumped over inside their white Kia in the parking structure at 2100 Scholarship, which is near Jamboree Road and Campus Drive and not too far from UC Irvine, around 9:10 p.m. Sunday. The pair was later identified as Quan and her 27-year-old fiance, Keith Lawrence, the car's owner, who like Quan resided in the condo building.
It does not appear the couple was robbed, there were no known eyewitnesses, no one reported hearing gunfire and, at this hour, there are no suspects, according to Irvine Police, who ask anyone with information to call 949.724.7000.
According to Quan's Fullerton Titans online bio, she entered her second season under head coach Marcia Foster in 2012-13. Quan came to Fullerton from Cal Lutheran, where she had been lead assistant coach for two seasons.
After a four-letter career at Walnut High, where Quan earned All-CIF, All-Baseline League and all-region honors and was entered in the school's Hall of Fame for setting several school records, she began her college career at Long Beach State, where she spent two seasons before transferring to Concordia of Irvine. She earned her exercise and sport science degree there in 2007 and completed her master's in 2009.
She is the daughter of Sylvia and Randal Quan.
We'll update with more on her intended and the investigation as those details become available.
The loss of any member of the Titan family causes our community great grief, but the loss of one of our own under these circumstances is indeed tragic and heart wrenching. We hope that Monica's family and friends will feel and be comforted by our support during this difficult time.
Around noon, Concordia University tweeted the following about Quan and Keith Lawrence, who were both alums:
Please keep our campus community in your prayers as we mourn the loss of two incredible alum Monica Quan '07 & '09 and Keith Lawrence '08
Keith Lawrence and Monica Quan, R.I.P.
We now know a little bit more about the late Lawrence: he, too, excelled at basketball at Concordia, playing in the 2007-08 season and making the all-tournament team during the 2007 NAIA National Championship in Kansas City, where the Eagles finished runner-up to Oklahoma City. Lawrence had attended Moorpark College before moving to Irvine.
His fiancee Quan's coaching resume also included a stop at Diamond Bar High School. The couple had only recently moved into the Irvine condo complex. He was sitting in the driver's seat and she in the passenger seat of the Kia when they were shot.
Randal Quan, Monica's father, made history as the first Chinese-American captain in the Los Angeles Police Department, reports the Orange County Register. He became the Cal Poly Pomona chief of police in 2002, was fired about six months later and in 2004 sued for wrongful termination. The litigation was dismissed in 2005.
UPDATE NO. 2, FEB. 4, 4:07 P.M.: "There really are no words to convey the sadness we feel at the loss, those of us who have had the privilege of working with her," said Marcia Foster, coach of the Titan women's basketball team, of her slain assistant coach Monica Quan at a Titan Gym press conference this afternoon.
Foster said that "a really bright light was put out way too soon--someone whose passion was impacting young women with the game of basketball. As an assistant, she was someone I counted on to tell me the truth. I loved that about her; I loved her work ethic and her passion for life. We've got some work to do; we've got to do something to stop this violence. Too many women are being impacted by it."
Cal State Fullerton Athletics Director Jim Donovan opened the press conference by saying, "We were very shocked and saddened to learn what's happened to Monica. She was a second-year coach for us and a very special person."
Donovan said the team, coaches and staff had been together since early this morning, after police had identified Quan and her fiance Keith Lawrence of having been shot to death in his car.
Foster still seemed in shock. After expressing condolences to Randal and Sylvia Quan, the slain woman's parents, and her brother Ryan, Foster mentioned that "[w]e just shared a moment of incredible joy with Monica on her recent engagement."
The coach's voice trailed off and she paused a moment before regaining her composure.
"I want to tell you, a really bright light was put out way too soon--someone whose passion was impacting young women with the game of basketball."
Here is video from the press conference:
Lawrence graduated from the Ventura County Sheriff's Academy before being hired as an armed public-safety officer at USC last August.
"During his brief tenure of service here at USC, Officer Lawrence proved to be an honorable, compassionate and professional member of our department and the Trojan Family," wrote Chief John Thomas in a message to his staff. "We are a better department and the USC Campus Community is a safer place as a result of his service."
UPDATE NO. 3, FEB. 5, 9:26 A.M.: Friends who created the RIP Keith Lawrence Facebook page to leave condolences for the slain young man cannot believe how quickly it has taken off. Find it here:
Other friends have set up an online fund to help defray costs for Monica Quan's family, with money going to her brother Ryan's PayPal account. Find it here:
Another update about the couple and the police investigation comes later today.
UPDATE NO. 4, FEB. 5, 3:31 P.M.: The following 10 developments are based on reports from Irvine Police and various media sources, including KTLA, KCAL, the Associated Press, City News Service, Patch.com, the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times.
- Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence were killed in the open-air, top level of the five-story parking structure for their Irvine condo complex, but getting inside the building requires a key-card and the car entrance is also behind an automatic gate. Police have disclosed the complex has surveillance cameras.
Keith Lawrence and Monica Quan at his police academy graduation.
Facebook/RIP Keith Lawrence
- As an armed security guard at USC, Lawrence was licensed to carry a gun. He did not have one with him in his Kia, say police.
- There is still no known motive, according to Lt. Julia Engen, the Irvine Police spokeswoman, who adds robbery and murder-suicide have been ruled out. More is hoped to be revealed in autopsies that began today.
- Quan was a fan of the Lakers and Michael Jordan and had once dreamed of joining the WNBA, perhaps with her favorite team the Los Angeles Sparks. She owned a huge collection of Nike sneakers. She was 5-foot-5 and held Walnut High School records in three-point shots made in a game and a season.
- Lawrence, a point and shooting guard who played at Concordia University like Quan did, made a buzzer-beating, triple-overtime, 3-pointer that propelled the Eagles to the NAIA Championship game against eventual winner Oklahoma City.
- Shortly after that, in March 2007, Quan and Lawrence became Facebook friends.
- Though Lawrence graduated from Concordia with a business administration degree, he'd always talked of some day becoming a police officer.
- Because they were known and beloved at many Southern California college campuses, the couple is being remembered at each. Besides those mentioned in our earlier posts and updates, there is Cal State Long Beach, where Quan played on the women's basketball team and interviewed for a coaching position, according to head coach Nancy Wynn. Cal Luthern's head coach Roy Dow, who'd hired Quan as an assistant coach, recalled her calling him to describe unique plays she saw on television or a documentary on the mighty University of Connecticut women's program. Quan recruited all the seniors on Dow's current team in Thousand Oaks.
- Her nickname at Cal State Fullerton: "Coach Mo."
- The parents of Monica and Keith, who had been planning a wedding and are now planning a funeral, say they will be buried together.
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