Rick Warren son ‘probably not’ owner of gun in suicide, cops say

Matthew Warren, son of Pastor Rick Warren, committed suicide Friday in his Mission Viejo home.
(Saddleback Valley Community Church)

Police do not know where Pastor Rick Warren’s son got the gun he used to commit suicide, an Orange County Sheriff’s Department official said Wednesday.

Matthew Warren, 27, was “probably not” the owner of the weapon he used to shoot himself about 10 a.m. Friday in his Mission Viejo home, department spokesman Jim Amormino said.


Investigators are trying to determine how he got it. A source close to the investigation said Warren used a shotgun. The Sheriff’s Department declined to comment.

The death at the younger Warren’s home on Pradera Drive was reported to authorities about 5:25 p.m. Friday, Supervising Deputy Coroner Dan Aikin said.

In a statement to his congregation, Rick Warren talked about how “only those closest knew that [Matthew] struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, even suicidal thoughts.”

Warren is the pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest and is the bestselling author of “The Purpose-Driven Life.” He delivered the invocation at President Obama‘s inauguration in 2008.

The pastor described his son as a “kind, gentle and compassionate man” with a “brilliant intellect” and who was sensitive to the needs of others.

“Kay and I often marveled at his courage to keep moving in spite of his relentless pain. I’ll never forget how, many years ago, after another approach had failed to give relief, Matthew said, ‘Dad, I know I’m going to heaven. Why can’t I just die and end this pain?’ but he kept going for another decade.”

The family announced this week they chose to honor Matthew Warren in a private funeral.

“Your kind words and sensitive notes to Kay and me have been such a blessing and encouragement,” the elder Warren said in a statement. “Many are asking about a funeral, and our family decided on a simple private memorial.

“Please continue to pray for the entire family.”


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