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Monica Quan, Keith Lawrence Mourned At Sunday Memorial Service In Concordia University Gym

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MONICA QUAN KEITH LAWRENCE MEMORIAL SERVICE
Mourners celebrated the life of Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence at a memorial service in Concordia University's gym. | Alamy

IRVINE -- Keith Lawrence used rose petals to shape a heart on the floor and got down on bended knee wearing a Nike "Witness" shirt to propose to Monica Quan.

The basketball-loving couple intended to spend the rest of their lives together. But rather than having many more years, the had only a few more days.

Their lives were cut short this month when they became victims of a revenge killing.

On Sunday afternoon, family, friends and former teammates gathered to pay their last respects to Lawrence, 27, and Quan, 28, at a memorial service filled with tears and laughter at Concordia University.

The service took place in the gym where Lawrence and Quan fell in love as students and players at the small Christian college.

Their closed caskets were placed next to each other on the court that doubled as a proving ground to determine which point guard was the best on campus.

Lawrence was a former Moorpark basketball star, and Quan spent two seasons as an assistant coach for the Cal Lutheran University women's basketball team after her playing career ended.

"We owe it to Keith and Monica to do what they did: to walk with a bounce in their step and always have a smile on our faces," said Remy McCarthy, who coached Lawrence for two seasons at Moorpark College. "We will brighten up the room or the gym that we enter, and we will carry on their legacy -- their love for life and their love for each other."

Soon after getting engaged, Lawrence and Quan were found shot to death in the parking structure of their Irvine condominium building.

Former Los Angeles police Officer Christopher Dorner is suspected of targeting the couple because Quan was the daughter of retired Los Angeles police Capt. Randy Quan, who represented Dorner at a personnel hearing over his firing from the department.

Lawrence was working as a public safety officer at USC at the time of his death, and the overflow crowd at the service included numerous law enforcement officers from various branches and cities.

Concordia men's basketball coach Ken Ammann joked about Lawrence being such a nice guy that he "was the only officer you would ever thank for writing you a ticket."

Tim Bednar, Lawrence's coach at Moorpark High, called Lawrence a "once-in-a-lifetime basketball player."

"As coaches we look for those players who embody the qualities necessary to lead his or her teammates to victory and greatness, and Keith had them all," Bednar said. "Fans, teammates, opposing coaches and opposing players respected and admired Keith. I received numerous phone calls from coaches and former teachers praising and remembering Keith for the top-quality person he was. Keith really touched so many peoples' lives because of the person he was."

Kris Lawrence, Keith's brother, told stories from their childhood.

The two shared a bedroom with bunk beds growing up. Kris was scared of the dark and would often climb up to Keith's bunk and ask if he could sleep with him.

"He would say, 'Get over it,' " Kris said. "But he let me sleep on his bed as long as I slept in the opposite direction."

In a somber reminder of Lawrence and Quan's impending marriage, the program for the memorial service listed the bridal party above a list of pallbearers.

Natasha Belou was scheduled to be a groomswoman in the wedding. Belou and Lawrence became close friends while playing basketball at Moorpark College.

Lawrence often teased Belou about never seeing her shed tears in front of him.

She told Lawrence he would finally get his wish at his wedding when Quan turned to walk down the aisle.

"Well, it seems he was able to see me truly cry in the last few weeks, just probably not in the way he had intended to," Belou said, choking back sobs while reading a Facebook post she wrote in the days after Lawrence's death.

"I will forever carry the memory of my dear friends who were taken that day and remember the man I was privileged to know," Belou said. "The only thing that brings me comfort and peace in this entire situation is knowing that Keith and Mo were able to walk hand in hand together through the gates of heaven."

Lawrence's father, Kevin, said his son had found the "love of his life" in Quan, a girl who had more tennis shoes than he did and loved Niketown as much.

During Keith's playing career, Kevin would wear a brightly colored baseball cap so his son could always find him in the stands.

After delivering his son's eulogy Sunday afternoon, Kevin placed a yellow hat on his head and told his son he could still always locate him from above.

The Concordia men's basketball program has a quote from Lawrence permanently affixed in its locker room.

Ammann shared Lawrence's words with the large gathering of mourners who only a few weeks ago expected to be celebrating the couple at a wedding, not attending a joint memorial service.

"Don't take this game for granted. Enjoy every practice and every game. Go as hard as you can until you can't go anymore because you never know which play might be your last." ___

Profiles of four people believed killed by Christopher Dorner. All captions by the Associated Press.

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