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Gun in suicide of Rick Warren's son 'nearly impossible' to trace

April 12, 2013|By Joseph Serna
  • The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church.
The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles…)

It will be “nearly impossible” to trace where pastor Rick Warren’s son bought the shotgun he used to take his own life last week, an Orange County Sheriff’s Department official said.

The gun that 27-year-old Matthew Warren used to shoot himself in his Mission Viejo home on April 5 was unregistered, had its serial numbers scratched off and was purchased online, said department spokesman Jim Amormino. A source close to the investigation confirmed it was a shotgun.

“It’s going to be nearly impossible to trace where he bought the weapon or who owned it previously,” Amormino told The Times.

Rick Warren said on Twitter Thursday that he forgives the person who sold his son the gun he used to kill himself.

"Someone on the internet sold Matthew an unregistered gun. I pray he seeks God's forgiveness. I forgive him. #MATTHEW 6:15"

Warren later wrote on Twitter: "God never allows more on you than he puts in you to bear it."

The death at the younger Warren's home on Pradera Drive was reported to authorities about 5:25 p.m. last 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."


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