EVERGREEN PARK, Ill. — Sharon Pughsley says she taught her daughter everything. But the one thing she couldn’t teach her, she admits, was how to dodge a bullet. 

It has been almost three years since Pughsley’s only daughter, Tanisha, was gunned down by an abusive ex-boyfriend. The Montgomery, Alabama police detective was killed in her home after taking out an order of protection against him. 

On Wednesday, the accused ex-boyfriend was sentenced for the July 2020 killing – life without the possibility of parole. 

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“There are some days I don’t even want to get up out of bed, but I listen to her, and I think about my daughter – the awesome young lady she was and is because she is still with me,” Pughsley said.  

Tanisha Pughsley (Photo courtesy of Sharon Pughsley)

In the wake of her daughter’s death, Pughsley started ‘Tookie’s Voice,’ a nonprofit dedicated to helping women escape abusive relationships. Pughsley works with several other organizations to hand out survivor kits to women looking to start anew.

“Sometimes you see them and they are wearing just one shoe because they just leave in flight. So we fill the bags that they need – toiletries, face towels, underwear, pajamas – just to give them something and let them know someone is caring about you and we thought about you,” Pughsley said.  

Continuing her mission to honor fallen officers and women who have been fatally abused, Pughsley also helps counsel other parents who have lost their children to gun violence. 

Sharon Pughsley talks to WGN’s Patrick Elwood (Photo: WGN)

“This is a club you don’t want to be part of,” Pughsley said. “If I could have a Genie and I could rub the lamp and redo things, I would, but I can’t. But all I can do is take her voice, and be her voice, and speak up for other people who don’t have that voice, and move forward, and let them know that you can get through it.”