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Former Walnut Star Athlete Found Dead

Monica Quan and her fiance Keith Lawrence were shot and killed as they sat in his vehicle parked in a secure parking structure.

A woman found shot dead and left in a car with her deceased fiance has been idenfitied as a former Walnut High School star athlete.

Monica Quan, 28, and Keith Lawrence, 27, were found dead in Lawrence's Kia, which was parked at the top of a five-story parking structure connected to the Irvine building where they lived, Irvine Police officials said.

Police received a call at 9:10 p.m. Sunday about a person slumped over in a parked car at the 2100 block of Scholarship and went to investigate, Irvine police Lt. Julia Engen said.

"Their deaths are being investigated as a double homicide," Engen said. "There is no suspect information at this time."

Investigators were not releasing details on their wounds. There's no evidence they were being robbed, Engen said.

The parking structure and high-density residential community is highly secure with key-card access only, Engen said.

Quan was an assistant coach for Cal State Fullerton's women's basketball team.

"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," said Mildred Garcia, Cal State Fullerton's president.

Garcia sent a note to Cal State Fullerton educators and students that said:

"We hope that Monica's family and friends will feel and be comforted by our support during this difficult time. In addition, counselors will be working with our staff and student-athletes as we all begin to struggle with the suddenness of losing such a special member or our university."

Quan was a star athlete at Walnut High School where she set school records for most three-pointers during a season, 59, and a game, 7, while averaging 15 points, six assists, three steals, and two rebounds as a senior, according to her school biography.

Quan was an assistant coach for the Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team, and before that was an assistant coach at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.

"She was one of those great individuals that when they're in your life, your life is better," said California Lutheran women's basketball head coach Roy Dow. "She had a great passion for basketball."

Dow recalled how he would get calls from Quan when she was away from work about a unique play she saw during a game on TV or to tell him a documentary was being aired about the University of Connecticut women's basketball team.

Quan's father told Dow recently about how she was so intent on watching a game that when she went out to dribble the basketball during commercial breaks, "she'd watch the TV through the screen door."

Quan rooted for the Lakers, but was a big Michael Jordan fan and had an "incredible collection of Nike sneakers," Dow said.

When they would take recruits around campus, Dow would stay on the campus sidewalks because Quan "was absolutely loathe to walk on the grass and get her sneakers dirty," the coach recalled.

He said Quan called him about a week ago to tell him about her engagement to Lawrence.

"She was a very private person, and she told me she didn't want me to hear it through the grapevine," Dow said.

The couple met while at Concordia University in Irvine, where they both played basketball, Dow said. Lawrence was seeking a career in law enforcement, which made him a good match for Quan, whose father was an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, Dow said.

He said it was Quan who recruited the current seniors on the California Lutheran team.

"I don't know what we're going to tell them," Dow said of the team. "We'll allow everyone an opportunity to express their grief. But we're certainly going forward. We're going to find our way to grieve and celebrate her life."

Lawrence, who graduated from the Ventura County Sheriff's Academy, was working as a patrol officer at USC's Department of Public Safety. He joined the department in August, said USC spokesman Carl Marziali.

John Thomas, the chief of USC's Department of Public Safety, issued a statement to his officers today, calling the murders "senseless" and asking for their "thoughts and prayers" for the victims' families and friends.

"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," Thomas said. 'We are a better department and the USC campus community is a safer place as a result of his service."

Quan was in her second season working under Coach Marcia Foster, who said, "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. We had just shared a moment of incredible joy with Monica after her recent engagement."

Foster added, "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 Athletic Director Jim Donovan said, "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."

Vito Spago February 09, 2013 at 05:38 PM
Lydia: Of course we care for the grieving families. We all have kids of our own. However, you imply that the grieving families use the Walnut Patch for comfort. This is a blog where ideas are thrown about, clearly NOT meant to be read by the families. Look at the LATimes coverage of the Dorner case and LAPD screw up issues. No way are the families reading this at this time. Please quit thinking that the Walnut Patch is an open letter to the Quan family. It is not.
Barbara Tahir February 09, 2013 at 05:53 PM
The immediate Quan family may not be reading the Patch and your insensitive rants, but a number of their friends and other family members certainly are. And yes your theories about how they were killed because something "strange" was going on that they parked on the top floor of the garage is known in the community. The community also knows that you believe that they were killed for being immoral (living together). You might take the time to make an open apology in this forum that you used for your accusations against two innocent young people. Are you man enough to follow through, Vito?
Vito Spago February 09, 2013 at 07:27 PM
Babara: You need to get a life and lighten up. These open blogs are for entertainment. I do not give a rat's @$$ who reads them. They were immoral and me or my kids would never shack up. Fact is, Keith would still be alive if he didn't shack up. Fact and end of story. Get that through your pious brain. No appology to anyone needed. Same with Quan being a cop. Being a cop is a dirty business, same as being a lawyer or judge. Typically they keep their addresses, phone numbers and family members secret just to prevent revenge killings. They happen. Just like gang witnesses being bumped off. I have every right to talk about it without your moronic hand wringing. Maybe this can be a lesson to folks to not go into law enforcement or any of those other blue collar jobs.
Vito, let's check your morals: Have you ever lusted after another person other than your wife? Have you ever "wanted" something so bad that you cut corners to get it? Have you ever cheated on your Income Tax? Have you ever lied? Stolen something? Misjudged someone without the facts? Taken God's name in Vain? If so, then you are INMMORAL. If you say that you've not done any of these things, then you just lied!

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