US police hunting the violent intruders who broke into Australian dad Brenton Estorffe’s Texas home and shot him dead have praised the man’s bravery, revealing how he confronted his attackers to protect his family.
Police on Saturday morning (AEDT) released a surveillance photo of a possible getaway car.
An emotional Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls also gave descriptions on Friday of the two men who smashed a glass window just after midnight on Wednesday at the rear of Mr Estorffe’s home in the quiet neighbourhood of Katy, near Houston.
Sheriff Nehls and his investigative team are desperate to capture those behind an attack that left Mr Estorffe’s wife Angeleanna a widow and their one-year-old and three-year-old children without a dad, shocking the community.
“They are going to pay for this,” Sheriff Nehls told reporters at a press conference.
“They came into the wrong community.”
The sheriff said there have been seven homicides in the county this year and six were solved.
A photo of a light-coloured four-door sedan with what is believed to be a sunroof was captured on a residential surveillance camera just before the shooting, and shown leaving just after shots were fired.
Further analysis is under way to determine the car’s make and model.
Sheriff Nehls described one intruder as possibly being “dark-skinned”, 180 centimetres tall, of medium build and wearing a dark-coloured hoodie.
A $36,500 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest of the intruders.
The Sheriff commended the father’s bravery as he revealed that Mr Estorffe had confronted the men and was shot.
“He gave his life in defence of his family,” he said.
“What more honour can you bestow on an individual than that.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for Mr Estorffe’s widow and children.
Mr Estorffe, 29, formerly from Mooloolaba on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, reportedly heard a window break at the rear of his home in Katy, a town near Houston, about midnight on Wednesday.
His wife and children, a one-year-old and a three-year-old, were sleeping at the time.
It was believed the shooting occurred during a burglary attempt. But Mr Nehls said he did not have a clear idea of why the pair broke into the house.
Police do not believe any valuables were taken from the home.
“Most individuals what want to commit a burglary do it when people are not at home, when they are working,” he said.
“These individuals pulled in there around midnight, broke glass into the back of the house and then, you know – I don’t think they were there to commit a burglary.
“There were cars parked in the driveway.
“I don’t know what their motive was but what I do know is this: they made some very poor decisions. They took a young man’s life.”
Mr Estorffe’s wife called 911 to report the intruders after the shot was fired.
“It’s sad, sad,” the sheriff told local TV station ABC13.
“Pray for this young wife and her two small children because they are without their father.
“He was there to protect his family … It breaks your heart.”
Younger brother mourns ‘hero’
Cobin Estorffe, Brenton’s younger brother, paid tribute on Facebook saying that life would “never, ever be the same” without Brenton.
“Still not real brother, life will never ever be the same without you,” Mr Estorffe 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. Thanks for the amazing times we had together.
“Love you brother, you will never be forgotten. Best mate, oldest brother, a son, a father, an uncle, a husband and a f—ing hero.”
Mr Estorffe grew up on the Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in in Mooloolaba before he moved to the US to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL. He played a season of college football for Southern Virginia University in 2012 before working as a rental car manager.
On Friday, his father, Michael Estorffe said the family was preparing for Brenton’s funeral, which is expected to take place early next week.
Michael Estorffe said he was worried he might not get there in time, because of issues with getting a visa.
“It’s hard because the rest of the family is over there already and I’m stuck here,” he said.