"If you were in trouble, and he knew you were depending on him, he would be there," said longtime friend Jenny.
Law enforcement sources said Lee was one of the two people found dead inside the Skyline apartment where Wilson and two other officers were shot. U.S. Marshals and San Diego police officers were looking for two men - one on a probation check, another for an assault with a deadly weapon warrant.
Lee's parents and brother asked Jenny to speak on their behalf. "His parents are devastated, they are crying, they are mourning too," she told NBCSanDiego.
Lee served five years in the U.S. Coast Guard. In 2001, he was given a certificate from the city of San Diego for heroism after pulling an elderly couple from a burning apartment building. Then, something happened about three years ago that changed the course of Lee's life, according to his family.
"Meth is no joke, when it takes hold of you, you are no longer your own person," Jenny said.
The drugs eventually led to crimes including an arrest for robbery, burglary and false imprisonment. In court papers obtained Thursday by NBCSanDiego, family and friends asked the judge for leniency in Lee's case.
"He was under illegal drugs that caused him to do stupid things," Jenny said.
In recent years family and friends tried to help Lee straighten out his life by showing him where he needed to go get help.
According to Jenny, Lee's family is not trying to get sympathy from the public. They just want people to know they are sorry for what happened to Officer Wilson and they are hurting too.
"Our condolences definitely go out to the whole family, everybody that's involved, and the police force because they protect us too," she said.
Law enforcement sources confirmed Thursday that the woman who was found dead next to Lee is Luckee Xayasene. She also had a warrant for her arrest.