Officers brought Christmas gifts to boy after mom's death, brother's arrest
New London — On Christmas Eve, city police officers surprised 12-year-old Savahn Warren with a bundle of gifts the day after his mother, Asia Warren, was found dead in their home and his brother Rayquan was arrested in front of him on an outstanding warrant.
Officers brought Savahn, an aspiring basketball star, a gym bag filled with basketball gear, gift cards, a Christmas card filled with cash and a message of hope and help: "If you need anything from us, call and we'll be here," said Officer Deanna Nott.
The touching moment between the officers and the boy was captured on video and posted to Facebook by the boy's older brother, Rayquan Warren, where it was viewed more than 12,000 times this week.
In the video, Savahn sifts through the bag, pulling out Adidas pants, shirts, a sweatshirt and shorts, a Nike water bottle and shirt, socks and Under Armour sandals, before opening two pairs of Nike sneakers and a card with $200 in cash.
Savahn beams as he opens his gifts. Rayquan said he thought the interaction helped his brother heal from a tragic day surrounded by police officers.
"This would make my mom cry right now," Rayquan can be heard saying in the video.
The gifts were delivered just one day after Asia Warren had a fatal heart attack after suffering from coronary artery disease for five years. When police arrived at her New London home following her death, they discovered a warrant for Rayquan's arrest and had no choice but to arrest him in front of his younger brother.
Rayquan said that officers allowed him to stay on the scene and figure out matters with his family before taking him into custody. He had the opportunity to say goodbye to Savahn before being handcuffed and led to the back of the squad car.
"I told him that I would see him soon and I'm sorry that my past mistakes were still interfering with our relationship and our future," said Rayquan, who was wanted on charges of second-degree failure to appear in court in relation to a motor vehicle fine from August. He said he did not know about the warrant.
Rayquan said the officers at the scene were respectful and that he understood they were just doing their job, as difficult as the circumstances were.
"They showed their sympathy on the scene that day," he said. "It's not that they wanted to do it, but they had to do it, and they made that very clear."
Rayquan was released on bond that night.
The next day, the second visit from police lifted Savahn's spirits.
"It showed him that nobody is against him and we want to see him do good," Rayquan said.
In the video, Nott tells Savahn "all we ask is that you be a good guy and help somebody in return." After he opened his gifts, she gave him a hug and a kiss on the forehead.
Police Capt. Brian Wright said the gifts were made possible by a team at the department.
"Given the tragedy of the situation and the associated circumstances, police department members immediately responded to the situation by rallying together to do something in an attempt to lift the spirit of the young man," said Wright, who added that officers and other members of the department donated money for the boy's gifts.
Rayquan said that in addition to lifting his brother's spirits, the gifts will help Savahn pursue his dream of becoming a basketball player like his idol, the Chicago Bulls' Kris Dunn — a dream their mother always supported.
"He's trying to focus on his basketball still, he wants to play basketball and he's really good," Rayquan said. "She always tried to get to all his games, the practices, the training camps, the commutes to the far away games."
Savahn Warren plays for five different basketball leagues, Rayquan said, in addition to playing at Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School, where he is in seventh grade.
In addition to supporting her sons' dreams, she also was "a very, very hard worker," Rayquan said of their mother.
Asia Warren, who was 42 years old, owned Asia Major Creative Suite on State Street where she worked as a barber and hair stylist, specializing in braids. She also worked as a real estate agent and marketing promoter, Rayquan said.
During the tragedy, he said his brother "has been strong; we've both been strong, because we were raised by a strong woman."
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