An Australian man living in Texas has been shot dead while protecting his wife and two young children from intruders who broke into his home.
Brenton Estorffe, 29, originally from Queensland, 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.
Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls said when Mr Estorffe confronted the intruders, he was shot and killed.
The intruders have not been caught.
“It’s sad, sad,” the sheriff told local TV station ABC13.
“We have a homeowner here in Fort Bend County who’s no longer with us, a father of two small children.
“It breaks your heart.”
The violent death of the young dad formerly from Mooloolaba on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast horrified the quiet community of Katy.
Local authorities have vowed to track down the intruders and are checking surveillance footage from the surrounding area.
“Pray for this young wife and her two small children because they are without their father,” Sheriff Nehls said.
“He was there to protect his family.”
Mr Estorffe’s wife called 911 to report the intruders after the shot was fired.
Mrs Estorffe and her children were not hurt.
Mr Estorffe reportedly moved to the US in 2011 to play gridiron and study at South Virginia University.
He has been working for the Enterprise car rental company in Texas.
The ABC reports police spokeswoman Jessica Reyes said officers were investigating a car that reportedly sped away from the scene, but did not have a suspect.
It is believed Mr Estorffe was shot during a burglary attempt.
“They were asleep in their home,” Ms Reyes said.
“Him and his family … his wife and he has two small children.
“His wife and his kids are fine, he was fatally shot.”
His younger brother Cobin Estorffe wrote on Facebook that life would “never, ever be the same” without Brenton.
“Hands down you are my hero the way you stood up for your family,” he wrote.
“Can only dream to be a little bit like you.
“Best mate, oldest brother, a son, a father, a uncle, a husband and a f***ing hero.”