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September 17th, 2013
02:04 PM ET

Kay Warren on learning of her son Matthew's suicide: "We that time, we knew"

Coming up this evening at 9, Piers Morgan welcomes Rick Warren for a raw and heart-wrenching face to face conversation that touches upon everything from life and death, to gun control and mental health.

A well-known American evangelical Christian pastor, Warren and his wife Kay Warren lost their son Matthew to a self-inflicted gunshot wound in April, and in the first interview since their personal tragedy, the Warren's share intimate details of the day they learned of their son's passing:

"We drove over to Matthew's house," describes Matthew's mother. "The lights were on. I could see in his window, the lights were on. And I started ringing the doorbell and banging on the door. Now, typically, he would have said 'go away,' or come to the door and invite me in. He did nothing. That was not his pattern. And so I had a pretty good sense that perhaps something catastrophic had happened."

Knowing of their son's emotional battles, the Warren's soon found themselves facing a daunting decision:

"He had also told us that if we called the police, that he would take his life instantly. So a call to the police was an instant suicide," Kay reveals in Tuesday evening's exclusive interview. "I was living with that horrible, horrible choice of do I call the police and perhaps intervene or do I take that risk if I call that he instantly kills himself? So we just had to wait."

When Kay's text messages to Matthew continued to go unanswered, the Warren's returned to their son's home the following day:

"There was nothing. And so we went back to the house, his house. It looked exactly the same," the grieving mother reveals to the "Piers Morgan Live" host. "The same lights were on. We knew. By that time, we knew."

When the unthinkable became reality, and the death of their son was all but confirmed, Rick Warren recalls feelings of a complete emotional breakdown:

"We were sobbing. We were just sobbing. The day that I had feared might happen one day, since he had been born, and the day that I had prayed would never happen, happened," shares the senior pastor of Saddleback Church. "I remember, as we stood in the driveway just embracing each other and sobbing."

Watch the above clip for more details of the Warren's learning of their son's death, and for the entire interview with the man who leads the eighth-largest church in the United States, tune in to CNN tonight at 9.
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soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Peter Matteson


    Your stance on guns is "so correct". As a Canadian, I fail to understand the rationale that chooses the unlimited proliferation of guns because of the 2nd Amendment. How many lives will be taken before the American public has "had enough". A global American right to bear arms is not worth one single life.

    September 17, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steven C

      Lets see, the UK passes restrictive gun laws, absolutely banning any semi-automatic firearms. Piers will tell you that the UK only had 83 gun related homicides last year, but the politicians are pushing to legislate carrying knives because the overall homicide rate in the UK is higher today than it was in 1992 when they passed the gun laws that Piers relishes.

      In Australia, They passed restrictive gun laws in 1996. The number of homicides by a firearm are very low, but the total number of homicides by any weapon has only decreased slightly. And the decline started in 1986, 10 years before the gun ban was put into place. Were Guns the problem? The solution? Does not seem so.

      The United States passed the Gun Control Act of 1968 in, well 1968. National Homicides topped 14,760 the next year, by 1985 the homicide rate peaked at 24,000 per year then settled in at around 18,000 in the 1990s after the Assault Weapons ban in 1993. That ban expired in 2003, and in the mean time up to 40 States in the US passed Concealed Carry laws around the nation. For the past three years, the National homicide rate in the United States is less than 15,000 per year. Yes, still a lot of people, but those are numbers we have not seen since 1970.

      So of the three plans, UK, Australia, USA. Which plan seems to be most effecitve at reducing homicide rates. The ones with Gun Controls have seen either flat responses or even increases in deaths. However the nation that allows its citizens to carry concealed is the only one seeing numbers reliably drop to 1960's levels. I think we are most definitely doing something right.

      September 26, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Ben Had

    You're a stupid, stupid man, Piers

    September 18, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Marti V

    So thankful that this couple has the courage to talk about this tragic loss of life to help others understand that this can happen to any of us. The brain is an organ just like other organs in the body and can become diseased. It does not matter what your faith is or who you are....depression is an illness that is treatable in most cases. This family did so much to keep their son alive and I applaud them for their courage to speak about this important topic. The faith community has an important role and all churches and congregations need to educate themselves about mental illness, where to go for professional help. If your child were hit by a car, you would first call 911 and you would also pray. A mental health emergency is not any different. There are mobile crisis units available in some states and trained police CIT trained police who know how to best handle these situations. They work with the mobile crisis units to deliver the best possible outcome. In GA. We have ACT teams who can help families to get their loved one on the right track. This team has another mental health consumer who would know how to speak to,the person of the importance of getting and staying with treatment. Other professionals are part of this team. Not many people know about this and those of us who provide education need to do a better job of letting our communities know about this. Every gatekeeper needs to know resource around mental health. Please find resources in your area by going to I hope you dance!!!!!!!

    September 20, 2013 at 9:17 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Kathy C.

    Why does the headline name their son as "Michael" when his name was Matthew??

    September 20, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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