Edgerton murder victim’s mom in despair, family says life will be tough without his bright spirit

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. -- Several days before Christmas, a heartbroken mother prepares to bury her son, an innocent bystander killed by a pool cue during a bar fight in Edgerton, Kan., this past weekend.

Witnesses said Tyler Knudsen, 23, was just waiting to play pool at Boxcar Bar and Grill Saturday night when a fight broke out.

Prosecutors said 32-year-old Gregory Cooper allegedly swung a pool cue at another man's head, but instead struck and killed Knudsen.

Cooper is now charged with second-degree murder and attempted aggravated battery.

Knudsen's family talked exclusively with FOX 4 Tuesday, telling our Katie Banks they're still in shock and don't know how they're going to ever move forward without him.

“I’m just really numb still, still just very numb,” said Tina Campbell, Knudsen’s mother. “I just can’t comprehend it yet. It doesn’t even seem real yet. He was a great guy –a wonderful son, husband, brother…”

Fighting back tears, Knudsen’s older brother, Dustin Campbell, said it’s tough thinking of the person accused of killing his younger brother.

“I don’t care if he didn`t mean to do it or not,” Campbell said of the suspect. “He took him away from all of us – not God, but him. He did it.”

The emotions are raw and overwhelming for Dustin, who loved going hunting and fishing with his brother.

“I looked up to my little brother,” he said. “It sounds crazy, but I did. I looked up to him big time. The kid was going places. He had a huge heart, and sometimes right now, I don`t know how I’m going to do this without him.”

Their family is now just days away from Christmas and struggling to accept their new normal: a life without the guy whose bright spirit always lit up a room.

“He made everybody laugh,” said Knudsen’s younger sister, Bailey. “There was never a dull moment with him.”

Knudsen was also a loving husband who soon planned to have kids of his own and now will never get the chance.

“It’s going to be real tough,” his mother, Tina, said. “Stuff like this shouldn`t happen this time of year.”

Knudsen’s funeral services are set for Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Bruce Funeral Home in Gardner, Kan., with his burial to follow at Olathe Memorial Cemetery in Olathe, Kan.

His friends and family have set up a GoFundMe account to help his widow pay for funeral expenses. If you’d like to donate, click here.