NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Alisha Warren had always wondered about her older brother. What was he up to? Where does he live? What is his personality like?
All of those questions would be answered in the most unexpected and tragic way. Right before the new year, she would learn the sibling she never met was killed more than 200 miles away at a bus station parking garage in downtown Nashville.
In the early morning hours of December 23, David Warren's lifeless body was found. The medical examiner told Alisha her brother suffered a blunt force trauma to the skull. The weapon was a fire extinguisher.
"When I found that out it was him, I cried because I never got a chance to put a face to the person I'm related to," Alisha told NewsChannel 5.
Despite not meeting or even having one conversation on the phone with David, Alisha felt compelled to step up as the sibling she never had the opportunity of being to him. Alisha got in touch with the medical examiner's office who helped transport his body for cremation.
"I don't have to meet him to love him. I don't have to meet him to step in as a sibling. I wouldn't be able to sleep knowing I had a brother that I could have done something for, but I chose to sit back," she said.
David lived a life considered more complicated than most people. He became blind after a bullet ricocheted during a shootout with police. David was originally from Memphis and was known for his big smile and dimples. But life had a way of taking a turn like when his parents divorced before Alisha was born. Both may have shared the same father but there was never an encounter growing up.
After he died, Alisha was able to reconnect with their aunt whom she had not seen for years. Her aunt seemed to be the main person David connected with for the most of his life, during and after the 17 years he spent in prison. Alisha learned David lived with their aunt after being released in 2015 but for some unknown reason, decided to leave for Nashville where he spent the rest of his life experiencing homelessness.
"As a blind man, he was able to navigate the city in this world in a way that leaves me in awe," Lindsey Krinks of Open Table Nashville said. "David had to navigate a world that was not built for him, and he did that with grace and bravery."
Krinks is a homeless advocate who interacted with David and even helped him get housing for a brief time. She described him as brave, courageous, and soft spoken but still had a magnetic personality.
More than a month after he died, Krinks helped organize a memorial at the public library on Wednesday for community members and friends in the homeless community to pay their respects. They read songs and shared stories about him. It was a fitting setting because the public library was a refuge and sanctuary for him.
"It's really important to pause and remember and honor that life. Just because someone is homeless doesn't mean they don't matter," Krinks explained.
The memorial landed on the same day the suspect was scheduled for a court hearing. Brandon Brown is accused of killing David, although the motive remains unknown. Brown's hearing was eventually pushed to a later date, and he has been ordered to undergo a psych evaluation.
At Krinks' organization, posters could fill the wall of the names of the homeless men and women in Davidson County who died throughout the years. Names of the people killed in 2019 filled four poster boards including Warren's. He was one of 100 who died last year, which is slight decline from the previous year.
However, Krinks said the number of homeless deaths is highly under-reported since her recordings rely on relationships with the community and some Metro agencies. She questions if David would still be alive if he had proper resources.
"If David would have had the kind of housing that he needed where he needed it, he might have not been at that bus terminal that day," she said. "The people on our streets are human beings who deserve housing and healthcare that is adequate, accessible and affordable."
Whatever happened to her older brother, Alisha said she is not angry. Seeing how he had support and love gives her peace and comfort.