UPDATED 7pm by Julie Montanaro
Two former gang members tried to convince teens at a Tallahassee high school to forego life on the streets.
You could hear a pin drop at Godby High School today when they described life in prison and the mother of a slain teen described life without her son.
'I felt like I wanted to belong to something," Torrence Adams said as he described joining a gang when he was ten years old.
Adams told teens at Godby High School that signing up for
life in a gang was signing up for prison or death.
"I've had my mother's house shot up. I had some home boys die. I've also seen associates die right in front of me, you know. I spent 15 years of my life in the penitentiary," Adams said.
Now 38 years old, the former gang member just got his high school dimploma and started college.
Adams and former gang member Marion Reeves shared harrowing tales of gang life in Tallahassee.
"I did over 10 years in the penitentiary. Been out over six years just trying to do the right thing. Do the right thing. It's easy to get in trouble. It's hard to do the right thing," Reeves said.
"Being in a gang is a dead end," Adams said. "It took a long time for me to finally decide to just say no, wise up, be a man, be a father, be a husband and be a son to my parents," Adams said.
The two former gang members shared harrowing tales of gang life in Tallahassee and tried to convince teens to take a different road.
Those words were echoed in the tears of Wanda Norton.
"Ya'll please. If you're in gangs, just leave it alone," Norton said.
Her son Reshard Morrell was just 15 years old when he was shot and killed by a stray bullet in a gang shootout.
"I got the call that every mother dreads. That my son had been shot," she said as fought back tears.
"Find something else to do, Football, cheerleading, anything positive," she said.
Tallahassee Police teamed up with the Leon County Sheriff's Office and the state attorney's office to present the gang awareness rally. They hope to present it at every middle and high school in Leon County,
Tallahassee, FL - You could hear a pin drop in the Godby High auditorium as two former gang members described life in gangs and life in prison.
Torrence Adams said he has accomplished more in the last six months than he did during 20 years on the street. He just got his high school diploma and enrolled in college.
The mother of Reshard Morrell fought back tears as she described what it was like to lose a son to gang violence. He was an innocent bystander caught in the cross fire of a gang shootout at the Elks Lodge.
"Choose life over gangs," she said.
David Northway of the Tallahassee Police Department says Godby does not have a gang problem and neither the school nor TPD wanted to insinuate such. Organizers of this event needed a school in the district at which to hold this event and they picked Godby.
WCTV has a reporter at the event and will bring you more tonight on Eyewitness News.