Former Walnut star basketball player found shot to death in Irvine

[BYNAME]By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
[BODY]Walnut High School faculty and students gathered at the school on Monday to hold a candlelight vigil for 28-year-old Monica Quan, a former Walnut High student-athlete found shot to death in a car along with her fiance, 27-year-old Keith Lawrence, on the top floor of a parking structure at an upscale condominium complex in Irvine Sunday night.
Authorities say they have no motive or suspects in the killing.
Quan graduated from Walnut in 2002 and earned a basketball scholarship to Long Beach State. She coached briefly at Diamond Bar High School, according to Dean Conklin, superintendent of Walnut Valley Unified School District
She eventually graduated from Concordia University in 2007 with a degree in exercise and sport science and completed her master’s in 2009.
Officers found the couple’s bodies after someone reported seeing Lawrence slumped over the wheel of his vehicle.
Quan was found in the front passenger seat and Lawrence was in the driver seat, Irvine Police Lt. Julia Engen said.
“It doesn’t appear they were robbed,” Engen told the Orange County Register. “There’s no obvious motive.”
Quan was in her second season as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Cal State Fullerton. Lawrence and Quan played basketball at Concordia University.
“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,” CSUF President Mildred Garcia said in a statement Monday. “We hope that Monica’s family and friends will feel and be comforted by our support during this difficult time.”
Quan, the daughter of Sylvia and Randal, was a four-year varsity basketball standout at Walnut, earning All CIF-Southern Section, All-Baseline League and all-area honors during her four-year prep career.
Quan, a member of the Walnut High Hall of Fame, set schools records for most three-pointers during a season (59)and game (7), while averaging 15 points, six assists and three steals her senior year.
Walnut High School Principal Jeff Jordan remembered Monica for her “bubbly personality and for her competitiveness on the basketball court,” Conklin said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.”
Mike James was the Walnut girls basketball coach for two years while Quan was there. James coached Quan her freshman and sophomore years before moving on to Diamond Ranch, where he is currently the girls basketball coach.
James followed Quan’s career after she graduated and maintained a relationship with his former player.
“It’s devastating news,” James said. “I had to take a step back and gather myself. I hadn’t talked with her in a couple months and she just got engaged.
“She was a young coach and her future was in coaching and it was was going to be bright. Her goal was to be a college coach and she was one of the brightest and smartest kids in the world. She had everything going for. It’s unthinkable what happened.”
Walnut athletic director Jerry Person remembers Quan well. It was his first year as Walnut’s athletic director when Quan was performing her magic in 2002.
He was floored upon hearing the news Monday.
“I couldn’t believe it, I’m still in shock,” Person said. “She was very tenacious. She had real good skills on the basketball court and off the court she was just a great young lady. You could tell she was going to be something special. It’s horrible what happened.”
[TAG1]The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Staff Writers Steve Scauzillo and Ruby Gonzales contributed to this story.

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About Steve Scauzillo

I love journalism. I've been working in journalism for 32 years. I love communicating and now, that includes writing about environment, transportation and the foothill/Puente Hills communities of Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, Walnut and Diamond Bar. I write a couple of columns, one on fridays in Opinion and the other, The Green Way, in the main news section. Send me ideas for stories. Or comments. I was opinion page editor for 12 years so I enjoy a good opinion now and then.