MEMPHIS, TN - Jerome Gray says his best friend, Memphis Police Officer Timothy Warren, was a servant who only wanted to help people.
Warren was shot and killed Sunday, July 3, 2011. He leaves behind a wife and two children.
At the time of the shooting, Officer Warren's family was in his hometown of Cleveland, Mississippi, celebrating the holiday weekend. When she learned about her husband's shooting, Betsy Warren called Gray and asked him to go to The MED. Gray, a Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy, was at the hospital when Warren died. The two had been best friends for more than 10 years.
Gray says he was with Warren just hours before he was shot, "We were talking about life, and our careers. I said, 'Tim, do you think it's time to do something different?' He said policing is the only thing he knew how to do. It's the only thing he'd want to do."
Gray says they talked for nearly two hours before Warren left for his evening shift. Two hours that he will now never forget. "I cherish the moment because you never know when it's the last time you're going to see someone and I always remember our conversations. (Sunday) I had the opportunity to reflect on our relationship as a friend."
Gray says they were like brothers, from the opposite ends of the country; Gray from Detroit, Warren from a small Mississippi town. But their bond was undeniable. He describes Warren as a family man. His world centered around his two kids. Warren never hesitated to help others. "He's the kind of guy you consider a true friend," Gray says, "I could name on one hand the friends I truly have and Tim was that one friend." He says that's why Warren was so dedicated to his job. He wanted to serve and protect in order to help, no matter the outcome.
"I hug and kiss my child every night because you don't know when you're going to come back, if you're going to come back or how you're going to come back." Gray says, "Those things we know when we leave home and we put on a badge and uniform." But those things, Gray never expected to happen, especially to his best friend.
Gray says Warren used to carry cold bottles of water in the trunk of his patrol car and give them to the homeless.
Warren's wife is working on funeral arrangements. It's likely he will have a police memorial service in Memphis but buried in his home town in Mississippi.