The abundance of memories and laughs shared at Sunday’s memorial service made clear just how many people Keith Lawrence and Monica Quan touched.
More than two thousand people attended a memorial service for the slain couple at Concordia University in Irvine. Countless flowers and wreaths, basketball balloons and the number 23 served as the backdrop on the stage.
Services were held inside the university’s gym where the couple, newly engaged to be married, first met six years ago. They both played for Concordia.
Quan, 28, and Lawrence, 27, were found shot to death inside their car at their condo parking garage in Irvine on Feb. 3. Police believe it was former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner who killed the couple as revenge against Quan's father, Randal, who represented Dorner in a 2008 LAPD disciplinary hearing. The hearing resulted in Dorner being dismissed from the department.
“You were loved, Monica,” said Marcia Foster, women’s basketball coach at Cal State Fullerton where Monica was an assistant. “You loved the game and the game loved you back.”
Friends and mentors took turns telling stories of how Quan and Lawrence shared the same passion for basketball.
Quan started playing basketball from a young age, trying to follow in the footsteps of her older brother. She practiced dribbling day and night, her father remembered.
“Sometimes the neighbor would ask if Monica could not dribble outside after 10 p.m.,” said her father. “Nobody had to tell her to have drive.”
Quan said he was his daughter’s biggest fan, videotaping every game she played.
“Daughters always take care of their moms and dads,” Quan said. “And I am not going to have that.”
He talked about his unique relationship with his daughter. How her mother was Monica’s best friend, but he was her confidante. He told funny stories about cheering her on from the bleachers at basketball and soccer games, and the growing collection of her basketball and tennis shoes that filled various rooms at the house.
Her shoe collection even made an impression on the man who would become her fiancé.
“Keith would call me say, ‘Can you believe it! I finally met a girl who has more tennis shoes than I do!’” recalled Lawrence’s father, Kevin, about the day his son first met Quan.
Lawrence's coaches from high school and college praised him for being the best on their teams and for his strong leadership, but they talked more about his compassion.
“His competitors will always remember him as a great guy,” said Tim Bednar, Keith’s coach from Moorpark High School. “They respected him.”
After college, Lawrence decided on a law enforcement career and began training with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department and the Oxnard Police Department. He then joined the campus public safety department at the University of Southern California about six months ago.
USC police chief John Thomas said although Lawrence was only on the job a short time, he was kind and even made an impression on someone he arrested.
“That suspect asked about Keith and said he wished that every police officer was as professional as Officer Lawrence,” Thomas said.
Hard sobs choked the words out of Lawrence’s younger sibling, Kris, who told stories of a supportive, non-confrontational and responsible brother.
“He made us all better people,” he said.
Only invited guests were allowed inside the memorial services. Others were allowed to watch a live stream from various overflow rooms on the campus. The family asked the media that no photos, cameras, or recording of any type be taken of the service.
There was no mention of Christopher Dorner’s name during the memorial service. Those who spoke about the couple instead chose to refer to Feb. 3 as a night of “tragedy.”
“It’s not for me or anyone else to question why God has done what he has done,” said Randal Quan, adding that the death of his daughter hasn’t shaken his faith.
“Their passing had purpose,” Quan said. “I don’t know what that purpose is yet, but I know at some point we will know.”
The services concluded with a montage of images of Lawrence and Quan, highlights from their basketball careers, and a video capturing his engagement proposal — just four days before the two were found dead.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated where Monica Quan was a coach.