Friday, February 15, 2013

Murder LA 000018

by James Cohen

Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence enjoyed basketball. They met at a game and at the time of her death, Quan, age 28, was employed as an assistant coach for the Titans, the Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team. Lawrence, 27, was a public safety officer at USC. The couple was quiet about their relationship and some of their friends only found out very recently, when they announced their engagement. Lawrence's friend Natasha Belou was to be a groomsman in the wedding, wearing a bridesmaid dress but in the groomsmen's color scheme. She described attending a basketball game with him on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013.

He was found dead on Sunday, Feb. 3rd, along with his fiancee. They had been repeatedly shot in their Irvine parking garage.

There was no readily apparent motive until Wednesday, Feb. 6th, when Christopher Dorner reportedly posted his infamous manifesto to Facebook. CBS claimed their reporter David Goldstein was the first to acquire a copy of the document, though I haven't found any information of where exactly it came from - I tried copying and pasting it as a status update and as a note (with privacy set to "Only Me", of course), and it was refused as too long for both formats. If Dorner had a personal Facebook account it doesn't seem to be publicly available. The document is easy to find, though, and Rap Genius includes helpful annotations - apparently "NIPR" is military jargon for the normal, non-classified internet.

At any rate, the document mentions Monica Quan's father, Randy, who represented Dorner before the LAPD Board of Rights (referred to as "BOR"). The manifesto claims Quan was only looking out for the department and not Dorner. The final mention of Quan's name seems to reference the slaying: "I never had the opportunity to have a family of my own, I'm terminating yours. Quan, Anderson, Evans, and BOR members Look your wives/husbands and surviving children directly in the face and tell them the truth as to why your children are dead."

The manifesto further states that all LAPD officers are targets, even breaking them down by ethnicity and sexual orientation.

On Thursday, Feb. 7th, however, Dorner apparently killed Riverside county police officer Michael Crain, aged 34. The veteran officer was widely described as an involved father and husband. He and his partner were ambushed in their patrol car.

Another family man was killed on Tuesday, Feb. 12th, 35-year-old San Bernardino sheriff's deputy Jeremiah MacKay, fatally struck in the final shootout with Dorner in the Big Bear cabin that shortly after burned to the ground. According to the LAPD, dental records confirm the body found inside was Dorner.

  • The official statement is that the fire was unintentional, though officers were reportedly discussing fire on their radios. I don't think it should be surprising that deadly force was authorized and warranted, but it seems odd for them to deny it.
  • Initial reports that Dorner had tied up cleaning women were erroneous - he had bound Jm and Karen Reynolds, who owned the cabin he had been hiding in for days. It was apparently a rental unit, and he mentioned seeing the couple cleaning it prior to them discovering him. He told them several times that he didn't want to hurt them and after he left in their car, Ms. Reynolds was able to reach her cellphone and call 911. She mentioned to the dispatcher that she heard some noises and thought perhaps their housekeepers were also tied up, which then became widely reported.
  • Arianna Williams, who claims to have dated Dorner, has come forward. She claims she "made a decision to speak out because if anything had happened to me, I'd want my family to at least have an idea about maybe who it was." Seems like a few phone calls could have accomplished that just as well, though not with as much public attention - perhaps she'll get a book deal soon?
  • February is a sweeps period, when viewership ratings are assessed. Local news is a primary income source for local stations and so during sweeps they always go out of their way to scare the public at large. Not that this story isn't scary, but keep in mind that February is when the news stories about all the new ways your children might die are run just to get ratings.