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Rick Warren says gun in son's suicide was unregistered

April 11, 2013|By Joseph Serna
  • This undated photo provided by the Saddleback Valley Community Church shows Matthew Warren, the son of Pastor Rick Warren.
This undated photo provided by the Saddleback Valley Community Church… (Uncredited / AP )

The gun Rick Warren’s son used to kill himself was unregistered and purchased on the Internet, the pastor tweeted Thursday afternoon.

Warren’s tweet read:

Sheriff’s Department records show no one in the Warren family is registered to carry a concealed weapon in Orange County, and authorities have said they were struggling to determine where 27-year-old Matthew Warren obtained the weapon.

A source close to the investigation confirmed it was a shotgun.

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 that 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.”

Warren followed up his tweet about his son’s gun purchase with this:

The revelation that Warren’s son bought a gun online comes as the Senate is trying to overcome a filibuster on a gun control bill that would ramp up background checks on gun purchases.

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Joseph.serna@latimes.com

@josephserna

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