LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Jeffersontown High School graduate and Arizona State Trooper Tyler Edenhofer, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in July, was a young man who loved the holidays.
The young Navy veteran and law enforcement officer would have turned 25 on Thanksgiving day.
His family gave us an update on how they are coping since his death, and the way they hope to honor him this spring.
“It’s been rough,” Edenhofer’s father, Keith Welscher, said. “Especially for the kids.”
The holidays together were something Edenhofer’s little sister and brother, Alex and Will, cherished with their 24-year-old brother. Christmas without him this year is more about therapy sessions than gifts.
“My youngest son, Will, is really taking it hard, saying he’s gone before his time,” Welscher said of his young son. “He says he wants to be with him.”
Then, there’s a murder case to deal with.
Police said suspect Isaac King shot and killed Edenhofer on the roadside after Edenhofer and his training officers stopped to help a fellow trooper. They said the suspect grabbed another trooper’s gun, shooting Edenhofer and injuring two others.
“It’s hard to see that life means so little to a lot of people,” Welscher said.
The family stays in touch with prosecutors. They’ve been told the death penalty is being considered for King.
Trying to find out what’s happening across the country is just another part of the struggle without their son.
Huge crowds came out for services and tributes to celebrate and honor the officer. All were in Arizona, not in the town where Edenhofer spent many years growing up.
Coming home, it leaves his family a little empty. With no reminders of his service to law enforcement and to the Navy in greater Louisville, the family decided they wanted to create something.
“We’ve got a granite bench that we’ve designed to go up in the city of J-town,” Welscher explained.
Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf said he’s working to find a location for the memorial the family is planning.
The family is also seeking guidance from Supporting Heroes.
“Tyler would say that it’s too much and he would say, ‘I don’t need this because I know that you guys talk about me and you love me,’” Welscher said. “But I think for us, especially for the little ones Will and Alex, it will be someplace they can go, someplace they can tell their friends, you know, ‘Hey, this is my brother.’ A place where we can say thank you for what you’ve done and acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice that he made.”
A couple of organizations are trying to help the family look at ways to raise the money needed for the memorial -- a little over $20,000.
If you’d like to honor the trooper’s service, you can make a donation at any Stock Yards bank to the Tyler Edenhofer Memorial Fund.
Donations can also be made via PayPal to email@example.com.
The family hopes the memorial service will be sometime in late March 2019.