Tyler Johnson's aunt describes him as extremely kind and hardworking. She says he loved helping others.
The 25-year-old lost his life Saturday. He was one of the two Zumiez employees at The Mall in Columbia shot and killed in the store.
"You don't think it's going to be you. And yesterday it was us," his aunt Sydney Petty said.
She said not knowing if Tyler was safe or not was one of the hardest parts.
"It just became clearer and clearer as the day went on that things were zoning right in on our family. So, we got the monster this time."
The monster – news that Tyler was one of the two Zumiez employees killed.
"There's just no words... when a mother's child is taken away like this... the world of pain. But we are strong. Tyler was strong. And so are we."
Family members say Tyler worked at The Serenity Center for several years, helping people dealing with drug additions. They say those he's helped stopped by Sunday to offer their condolences and let the family know that without Tyler, they might not be alive.
"He's teaching other people not to give up, and so he's taught us not to give up, either. And we're not going to," Pretty said.
The family describes Tyler as "inspiring." Although he's gone, they say he will never be forgotten.
"We love him. We always will. He'll always be part of us."
Tyler's family said he had only worked at Zumiez since November. They said he had no known connections to the believed shooter, 19-year-old Darion Marcus Aguilar.