An Australian father has been shot dead in his home in the US during a terrifying home invasion.
Brenton Estorffe, 29, originally from Queensland, was asleep in his home near Houston with his wife and two young children when he woke to the sound of smashed glass, police said.
He went to investigate and was confronted with two male intruders at the back of his home, where he was fatally shot, local television station KHOU reported.
Police, who received reports of a shooting shortly after midnight on Wednesday (local time), say their search for the men responsible is ongoing after they fled the scene.
Mr Estorffe’s American wife and their two children, aged one and three, were unharmed.
Television footage shows investigators at the property in Katy, which is covered in extensive halloween decorations.
Neighbour Kimberly Patel told KHOU the incident has shocked the quiet neighbourhood.
“We’ve left our doors unlocked because we feel this is such a quiet neighbourhood. So it’s pretty shocking to be honest,” Ms Patel said.
Brother’s touching tribute
Mr Estorffe’s brother, who had also moved to the Houston area, took to Facebook mourning the loss of his sibling.
“Still not real brother, life will never ever be the same without you,” he wrote.
”Hands down you are my hero the way you stood up for your family can only dream to be a little bit like you.”
Friends in Australia also paid tribute to Mr Estorffe on social media, calling for a change to US gun laws.
“This is just devastating! I went to school with Brenno. A loving and caring father murdered, America you need to change your gun laws,” one friend wrote on Facebook.
“This is absolutely devastating, I can’t believe it. My heart is breaking for your family. You will be forever in our hearts,” another friend said.
Mr Erstoffe was originally from Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast and attended Mountain Creek High School before leaving Australia for the US in 2008 to pursue a career in American Football.
He attended Southern Virginia University where he played one season for their football team but failed to be re-selected the following year.
Authorities ‘puzzled’ by break in
Fort Bend Sheriff Troy Nehls described the shooting as “heartbreaking” when addressing reporters.
“It’s sad. We have a home owner here in Fort Bend County who is no longer with us and the father of two small children. Breaks your heart,” he said.
He told News Corp Mr Erstoffe’s death was “puzzling” if it was the result of a failed burglary.
“The majority of them don’t want to be interrupted. They want to come in and take your belongings. To break into a home at midnight by breaking glass, I mean… there were cars in the driveway. What would make them think the home was unoccupied at that time?” he said.
Yahoo News Australia has contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for comment.
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