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Medina Family Mourning Woman Killed In Atlanta Gang Gunfire

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A family in Medina is in mourning after a tragic death.

WCCO spoke with the parents and siblings of Taylor Hayden, a 25-year-old woman who grew up in the Twin Cities and graduated from Wayzata High School. She's the younger sister of State Senator Jeff Hayden.

The family says Taylor was caught in the crossfire of rival gangs after flying to Atlanta with a group of her college friends for a weekend getaway. Witnesses told police she was in the parking lot of a nightclub early Saturday morning, when two groups of men began shooting at each other.

Taylor was hit and killed.

"The interesting thing about this is that it was her first girlfriends' weekend. She had wanted to go on a girlfriends' weekend forever," Joyce Hayden, Taylor's mother, said.

Taylor's mother says she admired her daughter's spirit and determination.

She had recently moved to Houston where she had a new job, a new apartment and a new car.

"They had rented a house, they had this fun weekend planned. It's tragic that it ended like that. Really tragic," Joyce said.

"She was starting to grow. That was the whole thing. Her leadership was just unbelievable and she started to grow," Peter Hayden, Taylor's father, said.

Taylor's father, Dr. Peter Hayden, is the CEO and Founder of Turning Point. It's a Minneapolis agency that works with African Americans who are battling chemical dependency.

"Many of the young men I work with are similar to the gang bangers who are shooting around this country. I'm trying to help them see there is a bigger opportunity in life," Peter said.

Erin Hayden, still in college, has lost her big sister.

"Anger is one emotion I have not yet felt, only sadness. She's just not here. The only thing I want is for her to be back here," Erin said.

State Senator Jeff Hayden has lost his little sister.

"It does get hard. It tests your faith. It really tests your faith in humanity," he said. "We don't know the next great thing she was going to do and we won't know now, because someone decided they couldn't settle a matter any other way than shooting across the street."

Taylor's parents are heartbroken. The young woman they were so proud of for following her dreams and accomplishing her goals is gone.

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