IRVINE - Thousands paid their respects Sunday to Keith Lawrence and his fiancee Monica Quan - the first victims of a killing spree this month attributed to a disgruntled ex-Los Angeles police officer - at the university where they met and began their life together.
The emotional memorial service at Concordia University elicited both tears and laughter as those who knew and loved the young couple shared memories of two promising lives cut tragically short. The ceremony took place on the same floor where both Quan and Lawrence excelled as star basketball players for the school.
Quan's casket was adorned with flowers and the number 23, for her favorite basketball player, Michael Jordan. The casket for Lawrence, a public safety officer for the USC Department of Public Safety, was draped with an American flag.
The service included a video recording of Lawrence's marriage proposal to Quan, which took place only days before their deaths.
"Even though we feel Monica and Keith were taken from us too early, I'm grateful for the 28 years we had with her," said Quan's father and retired LAPD Capt. Randal Quan.
"I know that he's protecting Monica right now, and I know that Monica's telling him what to do right now," the father said.
Lawrence's father, Kevin Lawrence Sr., eulogized his son.
"He just loved everybody," he said. "He was honest, helpful, passionate about the things he liked and never afraid to be himself.
Kevin Lawrence told of how he attended each Keith Lawrence's games wearing a brightly colored hat, so that his son could spot him in the crowd. He then placed a bright yellow baseball cap on his head.
"If you ever need any help, look down, because I'll be looking up," he said.
One of Keith Lawrence's brothers, Kris Lawrence, recalled how his brother sought to protect him.
"He wouldn't let anyone call me names. He wouldn't let anybody hurt me," the brother said. "He was always there for me. He was always there for us."
Kris Lawrence added that he and his family had also embraced Quan as a member of their family.
"She was my sister," he said.
Keith Lawrence, 27, and Monica Quan, 28, were found fatally shot Feb. 3 in Lawrence's car, parked on top of the parking structure outside their Irvine condominium.
In the days that followed, investigators determined the man responsible was Christopher Dorner, who authorities said executed Quan and Lawrence as the first stage of a bloody vendetta against those in law enforcement he claimed had wronged him.
The couple was believed to have been targeted because of a vendetta Dorner had against the LAPD, and specifically Quan's father, retired Capt. Randal Quan.
The former captain had represented Dorner at an LAPD disciplinary hearing which ultimately led to Dorner's termination from the department in early 2009. Dorner claimed the captain failed to properly defend him in the proceeding.
The paths of Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence crossed six years ago while both attended and played basketball for Concordia University.
"This is where they met. This is where they fell in love," Concordia University Head Basketball Coach Ken Ammann said.
He and many other speakers at the memorial described both Lawrence's and Quan's skill, determination, character and work ethic when it came to their sport.
"They loved basketball, but basketball just revealed who they were," Ammann said.
"Keith and Monica both lived for others. They never thought of themselves first," Ammann said. "I don't know how many people I know like that in my life."
Prior to Concordia, Lawrence was a standout player at Moorpark High School and Moorpark College.
Quan set records for three-point shots at Walnut High School in Walnut, then played for Cal State University Long Beach before transferring to Concordia.
She worked as an assistant coach at Concordia for two years after graduation, then Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks before settling into a position as assistant basketball coach at Cal State University Fullerton, where she worked at the time of her death.
Lawrence trained with Oxnard police following graduation from Concordia and briefly worked as an officer there before joining the USC Department of Public Safety as an armed public safety officer.
"From the very start, as short as his career was, he was a great officer," USC Department of Public Safety Chief John Thomas said. "He was an outstanding person in every sense of the word."
"He talked about his job being more important than just putting people in jail," the chief said. He told stories of Lawrence talking suspects into custody, rather than using force.
And constantly, Thomas said, Lawrence spoke of his beloved Monica.
"I assure you, his legacy is secure. We will never forget the lessons he showed us all," Thomas said.
Quan also made a major impact at her workplace at CSUF.
"A very important member of our family has been taken from us," CSUF Head Women's Basketball Coach Marcia Foster said.
Quan "walked with an understated grace," which the coach attributed to her mother, Sylvia Quan. Quan's "strength and determination," she added, she inherited from her father.
Randal Quan said his daughter dreamed of one day becoming a head coach and running her own basketball program. "I would have loved to see that happen."
"Monica approached everything she did in the same way: with her own initiative and her own drive," her father said.
Friends shared memories of laughing with Monica Quan, and joked about her extensive collection of immaculate sneakers.
"Mo is one of those people who can have a connection with anyone," former CSULB teammate Jayme Conner said.
A private funeral followed the memorial service.
In memory of the couple and to continue their legacy, the Quan and Lawrence families have established the Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence Girls Basketball Scholarship Fund. For more information, visit www.leaap.org or email email@example.com.