Thousands say goodbye to fallen Memphis police officer - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Thousands say goodbye to fallen Memphis police officer

The casket containing Warren's body is carried out of the church. The casket containing Warren's body is carried out of the church.

(WMC-TV) - Thousands filled Hope Presbyterian Church Friday to honor a Memphis police officer killed in the line of duty earlier this week.

Friends, family and colleagues gathered to honor Officer Timothy Warren for his service and sacrifice.

It was a memorial service fit for a hero, but to the family he left behind, and the thousands who knew him, Warren earned that title long before he was killed in the line of duty.

>>SLIDESHOW: Killed in the line of duty

"Tim died doing what he loved serving this community, serving this city area," the Rev. John Enouch said. "It was his heart. It was who he was."

Warren's heart was in the entertainment district of downtown Memphis, where he not only fought crime, but ministered to the homeless and prayed with the hopeless. That ended Sunday, when Warren was gunned down as he responded to a domestic dispute.

"I didn't have what we all know now is the privilege of knowing Tim," Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said.

But in the five days following Warren's tragic death, Armstrong said, he formed a clearer picture of Warren's strength and character through stories from Warren's comrades.

"We don't know God's reason, but I truly believe God wanted us to hold up the beauty the charity, the selflessness, the humor commitment and the love in which officer Warren lived his life," he said.

Armstrong asked those who knew Warren well to share their stories, so that the fallen officer's young children will grow up remembering their father.

"I know the grief and the heartache that ya'll feel has been and is indescribable," Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said.

Those who frequent downtown Memphis said Warren's death had cast a cloud over the entertainment district where he served during his 11 years on the force.  

"He was a good man," said Wilbur Hensley, co-owner of Club 152. "He looked after the people in my store, and came by to check on everybody - all the merchants up and down the street."

Law enforcement officers from around the region came to pay their respects.  

"Anyone who wears a badge is on our team and we're here to support them," said Donna Turner of the Tipton County Sheriff's Office. "It's just a tragedy."

"And when someone makes the ultimate sacrifice, we're more than willing to go anywhere we can," added Sgt. Rickey Purvis of the Jackson, Mississippi Police Department.

It was a sacrifice duly noted through the Mid-South and beyond, a community that might never have known about officer Warren's efforts to connect his faith to his work - a man whose intent was to serve as a missionary on and off the job.

In Cleveland, Mississippi, there was an outpouring of support as Warren was laid to rest.

Officer Warren's flag-draped coffin arrived in Cleveland Friday as it was transferred on a horse drawn carriage, escorted by a convoy of police cruisers and motorcycles.

Many friends and family members were still grief-stricken by the officer's death.

"We had recently connected on Facebook and talked a lot through it," said friend Jill Mahaffey.  "I think he was a great person and the world was a better placed having him in it.  If more people were like him, the world would be a much better place."

Officer Warren's second grade teacher, Anita Bell Fitzgerald, said coming to the funeral was a way to honor an officer who would not think twice about putting himself in danger to help someone else.

"I'm so sorry this had to happen," said Fitzgerald.  "My heart goes out to his sister and his father, and I just want them to know I love them."

Those who knew Officer Warren best said they will never forget what he stood for.

"Even though I hadn't laid eyes on him in years, it still touched me deeply because he was a Christian man and he wanted to serve others," said Mahaffey.

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