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Mother of man killed at Bessie Smith Strut hopes to help other grieving parents

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

More than 13 years ago, a shooting at the Bessie Smith Strut killed one person.

On that Monday night in 2003, Chattanooga Police said several shots were fired. One killed 20-year-old Tory Hardy.

Hardy was working at Erlanger. His family says he had turned his life over to Christ and was raising his three year old son. They said he was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Hardy's mom is now sharing her story to Channel 3.

Terilynn Torrence joined other Chattanoogans for a peace rally Thursday night. After 30 homicides in the city this year, she wants mothers of murder victims to know they're not alone.

Dressed in white and praying for peace. One group gathered on the Walnut Street Bridge to take a stand against gun violence in Chattanooga.

Community members prayed for the safety of police and their neighbors.

"Anything to stop this, and stop another mother from crying, I am totally there," Torrence said.

She knows the pain of senseless violence firsthand. Her son, Tory, was killed 13 years ago, during a shootout at the Bessie Smith Strut.

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"It's just so senseless," she said. "They don't understand the lives that they touch. It's not just about the shooter and the person getting shot. These kids have mothers, and they have kids."

At 53, Torrence is raising her grandson, who was a toddler when his father was killed. She still carries the pain of her son's loss.

"You get caught up in the grief," she said. "It's this dark hole, and you think that you're by yourself."

But she wants other moms like her to know they don't have to face grief alone.

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"You don't realize, there are so many of us, somewhere else, feeling the same way," she said.

She believes the violence can stop. But more people must stand together.

"We can make a difference, if we get out there, and we're heard," she said. "If we come to stuff like this, together is a powerful tool."

Torrence hopes more people show up for events like this one, especially grieving mothers in need of support.

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