Life in Irvine goes back to normal

IRVINE — This is where it started. America's so-called "safest city" served as the trailhead in the epic manhunt to find Christopher Dorner, the suspected cop-turned-killer believed to have died in Tuesday's fiery standoff near Big Bear.

Dorner allegedly started his killing spree here Feb. 3. That was the day the bodies of a newly engaged couple, Keith Lawrence, 27, and Monica Quan, 28, were found shot dead and slumped over in a car parked in 2100 block of Scholarship.

The shooter's alleged motive: exact revenge on Quan's father, attorney Randall Quan, a former Los Angeles Police Department captain who represented Dorner in a hearing in which the police board stripped him of his badge for alleged misconduct.

But by Wednesday morning few visual clues remained that Dorner had ever been in Irvine, which was shaken by the deaths of Lawrence, a USC public safety officer, and Quan, an assistant women's basketball coach at Cal State Fullerton.

A few chunks of glass still marked the parking stall where a passerby discovered the bodies some 10 days before. And it wasn't clear whether that glass came from Lawrence's white Kia or from one of the construction trucks that now occupied the roof's parking spaces.

No blood. No shell casings. No signs of death.

It was as if the double murder never happened in the contemporary community painted from a pallet of beige, taupe, cream and terra cotta.

Instead, the dull sound of machinery hummed between condominium complexes adjacent to UC Irvine. Residents strolled along the spotless sidewalks, small dogs in tow.

A sunny day, some 66 degrees, and chirping birds suggested that all had returned to normal.

"Now we know it was the crazy bastard...." said one resident, who only gave her first name, Mary Lou.

"Everyone lives here because it's supposed to be so safe," she added.

Miles Hobson sometimes saw Quan walk her small, dark-haired dog. He would wave at her, which is his practice with all of his neighbors.

Dorner, 33, allegedly went on to kill two more people, both law enforcement officers, in his attempt to elude authorities before possibly dying in a cabin near Big Bear.

Tuesday's Irvine City Council meeting began with a moment of silence in memory of the dead.

"I, like everybody here, am so grateful to live in a community that is top of the list," in safety, resident Virginia Hilton told the council.

She encouraged officials to take a stand on gun control.

"Gun violence in this country has become absolutely epidemic," said resident Toni Dwyer. "From Newton, Conn., to Chicago, Ill., to right here in our very own city of Irvine — a very safe city. And we cannot ignore this devastating scourge."

Councilman Larry Agran said calm returned to the city and Police Department following the apparent end to the manhunt.

"Our thoughts should be with the victims of this tragic matter," he said. "In addition to the young couple from Irvine, their families and of course the law enforcement officials who were involved in the very dangerous business of tracking down a murderer."

Staff writer Rhea Mahbubani contributed to this report.

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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