Rick Warren: Son bought 'unregistered gun'
April 11th, 2013
08:15 PM ET

Rick Warren: Son bought 'unregistered gun'

By Greg Botelho, CNN

(CNN)–High-profile Pastor Rick Warren tweeted Thursday that his son who shot himself late last week had bought an "unregistered gun" from "someone over the internet."

"I pray he seeks God's forgiveness," wrote Warren, a best-selling author and the head of Saddleback Church, referring to whoever sold his son the gun. "I forgive him."


Law enforcement authorities have the gun they believe Matthew Warren used to kill himself, according to Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino.

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Amormino said he could not say from where, or whom, the 27-year-old got the weapon. But he did confirm the gun was not registered, adding that its serial number had been scratched off.

"(The fact) the serial number is scratched off ... is going to make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to trace," Amormino said.

Matthew, the youngest of Warren's children, worked at the Saddleback Resources Warehouse, which distributes books and DVDs. He was "an important part of the church but played a quiet role," church spokeswoman Anne Krumm said.

He'd had "a fun evening" with his parents, Rick Warren wrote Saturday to the staff of his Southern California megachurch, before he committed suicide "in a momentary wave of despair."

Matthew Warren was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Mission Viejo, California, late Friday afternoon, the Orange County Coroner said. The autopsy completed Monday put the time of death at around 10 a.m. Friday.

"Matthew was an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many," the church said in a statement. "Unfortunately, he also suffered from mental illness resulting in deep depression and suicidal thoughts. Despite the best health care available, this was an illness that was never fully controlled, and the emotional pain resulted in his decision to take his life."

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Rick Warren is a pioneer of the megachurch movement who looked to translate traditional evangelical messages to a wider audience.

Warren founded Saddleback with his wife 33 years ago and wrote "The Purpose-Driven Life," a Christian self-help guide that became a mainstream best-seller. He also gave the invocation at President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration.

CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • California • Christianity • United States • Violence

soundoff (913 Responses)
  1. M.O.

    Hey, CNN. Where are the Kermit Gosnell abortion clinic murder trial stories?

    April 12, 2013 at 1:11 am |
  2. realbuckyball

    The guy was obviously gay.
    He spent his entire life being insulted and marginalized by the Jebus freaks.
    No wonder he was depressed.
    The question is : can HE forgive Rick Warren ?

    April 12, 2013 at 1:08 am |
    • realbuckyball

      And BTW, one does not need the gods to find "purpose" in life.

      April 12, 2013 at 1:09 am |
  3. amanda

    A registered gun wouldn't have fired.

    April 12, 2013 at 1:05 am |
    • Todd Akin, not quite a Senator

      God has ways for the body to reject bullets in the case of legitimate murder.

      April 12, 2013 at 1:36 am |
  4. rad666

    So, guns are the problem, not mental illness?

    April 12, 2013 at 1:02 am |
  5. amanda

    You people are SO STUPID. Why is this news? You son could have drowned himself in the toilet...it DOESN'T MATTER if he used a gun your moron.

    April 12, 2013 at 1:01 am |
    • Horacio

      Suicide attempt success rate, per CDC:
      Guns – 85%
      All other methods – 5%
      Guns don't kill people, but they sure make it easy.

      April 12, 2013 at 1:13 am |
  6. vidal808

    The conservatives are so stupid, it makes me sad. Just reading their comments makes me happy to be a liberal. What a bunch of morones those so called "conservatives" gun loving, idiots.....

    April 12, 2013 at 12:59 am |
    • amanda

      Liberals are the best argument for abortion. They are beyond worthless....they steal from productive people and give to the worthless. They attempt to steal every freedom a person has...

      April 12, 2013 at 1:03 am |
    • amanda

      It's funny when you get some lame CNN monitor trying to pump liberal BS.....

      April 12, 2013 at 1:05 am |
    • libacrite

      Wow, as an obviously educated Liberal as yourself to have so many facts to base your points. Reading you statement reminds me of Charlie Brown's teacher, blah blah blah.

      April 12, 2013 at 1:14 am |
  7. surefooted1

    Why? He could have saved time and done it multiple other ways.

    April 12, 2013 at 12:55 am |
  8. STA STA

    Rick Warren needs a lesson in family values.

    A father who drives his son to suicide needs a better purpose in his money-driven life.

    Rick Warren needs to pray hard and give up his wealth for it is easier for a camel to go thru the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

    April 12, 2013 at 12:51 am |
  9. cici amicci

    I'll bet you Warren's kid bought the gun directly from the NRA's Wayne LaPierre himself.

    April 12, 2013 at 12:50 am |
    • dljr60

      I will take that bet. How much you got? still a sad situation.

      April 12, 2013 at 1:11 am |
  10. Larry

    One simple test, OK? If you are pro-gun, and you know that your loved ones all have guns available to them for their protection, then that comforts you, yes? But if you learn that they have become suicidal, doesn't that knowledge flip to the opposite of comfort? Wouldn't you hope and pray that they lose their access to firearms? Just asking?

    April 12, 2013 at 12:45 am |
  11. Rogue351

    Someone bought the gun. It is really to bad that the paranoid people who purchase these weapons and then either sell them to people that should not have them or let them be stolen cannot be held responsible for their poor choices. Cars kill more people than guns do, but we have records and make people take responsibility for cars. Why not with the purchase of a weapon ? Making the so called "Responsible gun owner" actually responsible is not going against the 2nd amendment. This would also have an impact that could potentially decrease the number of mass shootings in the USA. Don't limit what guns people can buy, just make them responsible for the purchase and sale of the weapon. Cause and effect, if you buy a gun and you don't take care of it like you should you can go to jail of face paying a huge fine. Buy a gun and use to responsibly for protection, sporting, etc. no problem. It is simple, however the NRA and the so called Responsible gun owners see this as a violation of their rights ? When their rights and lack of responsibility causes others deaths there needs to be changes made. The most logical solution is holding the people who choose to buy guns responsible for the weapons purchase and sale.But the NRA believe this will drive down sales resulting in less money in their pocket. That is the only reason why this has not been an option. Stronger laws should also be passed if a person uses a weapon during a crime. It is true guns do not kill people. But the people who buy the guns and do not take care of them and the people who use them in the commission of a crime do kill people. Take responsibility for your choices and actions.

    April 12, 2013 at 12:42 am |
    • BIllybob

      You mention in your comment "Cars kill more people than guns do, but we have records and make people take responsibility for cars."

      For the record if you are irresponsible and leave your unlocked with the keys in the ignition, and it is stolen you are not held responsible if the thief runs a bus load of kids off the road and kills 10 or 15 of them. The person that committed the act is held responsible. As far as I know there isn't even a warning to store car keys out of reach of children so they can't take the car out for a joy ride and potentially get hurt or killed. Yet every firearm comes with a warning and a lock, and in my state you have to sign a form saying you understand you are responsible if some one underage obtains your firearm and get hurt or huts some one else.

      Additionally, it is possible for a car to pass through numerous hands without it ever being recorded. If you only buy a car from a dealership you probably don't realize that this is possible, but you can purchase a car from a private seller, resell it to some one else who can then resale it to some one else, and so on. It only becomes registered to the next person when they wish to purchase a tag allowing them to drive it on a public road. If there is no tag ever purchased there is no record of where the car is or who owns it.

      April 12, 2013 at 1:31 am |
  12. Atheist, me?

    Loving your neighbor as yourself makes you a god fearing person. If we focus on this rather than politics we will be better placed to be salt and light in our society.
    Politics does not make us God fearing more like God pushing!

    April 12, 2013 at 12:39 am |
  13. Doris

    Frank why make such a hateful comment to people you don't agree with. I'm sure you are a God fearing person So act like it or at least pretend you are like most people who's hearts seems to be filled with hate 🙂

    April 12, 2013 at 12:31 am |
  14. nicolebarwinski

    I don't think how he obtained the gun in this case is all that important – he harmed himself. Had he not been able to get a gun he might have hanged himself, or jumped off a bridge/cliff, pills etc. However, if he were out to kill others, I think it is important that it is a lot more difficult to get guns – that will safe lives. Of course, there is always a way around everything....it will never be 100%. But if it saves 100 lives a year (and I am just picking a random number), I think it will already be worth it (having tougher gun laws).

    April 12, 2013 at 12:29 am |
  15. Futureman1

    You jack ball gunnies make me ill,,,, you are cowards. Every one of you....

    April 12, 2013 at 12:27 am |
  16. d

    liberal logic says banning the gun would've prevented this suicide. lmao

    April 12, 2013 at 12:21 am |
    • Larry

      Guns make it easier to kill anyone, not just yourself. Their designed with that purpose. What kind of logic do you employ to rule against this principle? That's like arguing that a single soldier could kill just as many of the enemy with a bronze sword as with an assault rifle. Ridiculous!

      April 12, 2013 at 12:29 am |
    • Atheist, me?

      That is simple logic. However other methods are more painful and less efficient. They need more thought than a gun to the head. One thing I don't understand is why he was staying alone.

      April 12, 2013 at 12:32 am |
  17. como1

    Scratched off serial number, bought over the internet without going thru an FFL. Illegal purchase of an illegal, probably stolen, gun. No law past, present or future would have prevented this young man from buying the weapon. Most of your comments are senseless.

    April 12, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • Frank

      Liberals do NOT think...they FEEL!! That's how they live with their stupidity.

      April 12, 2013 at 12:16 am |
    • Atheist, me?

      I am not sure how you reconcile pro-life with pro-guns as against christianity.

      April 12, 2013 at 12:28 am |
  18. Frank

    Yea, cause all good liberals know that a registered hand gun would have not done the job!

    April 12, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • Atheist, me?

      conservative does not equal good christian. It is a political position.

      April 12, 2013 at 12:25 am |
  19. Nanci Eisner

    Maybe, just maybe, if it had been a lot more difficult to get a gun when he did and how he did, the waiting time would have allowed him to not make his decision. We'll never know.

    April 12, 2013 at 12:07 am |
    • Frank

      Correct, so stick to what is known and leave out the bias speculation.

      April 12, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • Tia

      Or he just would have found another means of ending his life. If someone wants to break the law, more laws aren't magically going to stop them.

      April 12, 2013 at 12:30 am |
    • Larry

      No, but they could make it more difficult for people to break the law. What if we lifted the laws against assisting suicide? By your logic less laws wouldn't mean that more people would end their lives if we did, right?

      April 12, 2013 at 12:36 am |
  20. stephen K

    if he didn't have the gun, he probably would have made it through that wave of depression alive

    availability of guns = death
    culture of violence = death
    brainless adherence to NRA talking points = death

    April 12, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • Frank

      Your argument is non-sensical. Please shut up!

      April 12, 2013 at 12:15 am |
    • Atheist, me?

      Are you a xtian?

      April 12, 2013 at 12:23 am |
    • Larry

      It's a discussion board. Can you explain why you feel that way?

      April 12, 2013 at 12:32 am |
    • Tia

      Because obviously using a gun is the ONLY means of committing suicide...it's not like he could have driven his car off an overpass, or slit an artery with a kitchen knife, or...

      April 12, 2013 at 12:32 am |
    • Larry

      It's not the only means, but it's surely one of the easiest. Like pressing a button to end your life. Quick, easy and much less painful than the other methods you listed. It's perhaps the most popular way to end anyone's life, yours or someone else's, in this country.

      April 12, 2013 at 8:10 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.