The shooting death of an Australian man in the United States has left police ‘puzzled’ and at a loss to explain why he was targeted when there were cars in the driveway, a deterrent for most intruders.
Brenton Estorffe, 29, was shot dead by two intruders in the loungeroom of his home in Fort Bend County, Texas, just before midnight on Wednesday.
Mr Estorffe, from the Sunshine Coast, was killed after getting up to investigate when he heard his glass door smash in the middle of the night.
The Australian man had moved to the US to chase his dream of becoming a punter in the NFL, before getting married to local woman Angeleanna and starting a family.
Detectives from the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s office told news.com.au they were no closer to establishing why the intruders had made such an effort to break into Mr Estorffe’s home only to leave empty handed.
Brenton Estorffe (pictured with wife Angeleanna), 29, was shot dead by two intruders in the loungeroom of his home in Fort Bend County, Texas, just before midnight on Wednesday
Cobin Estorffe (centre, pictured with Brenton and Angeleanna Estorffe) paid tribute on social media to his brother
‘Hands down you are my hero’: Cobin posted this to glowing tribute to his brother on Facebook
‘Burglaries typically take place during the day time,’ Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls said.
‘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?
‘Puzzling is what it is.’
Mr Estorffe’s father Michael told Nine News his son had been protecting his family when he was shot.
He had reportedly called police after hearing his glass door break, before going out into the loungeroom to investigate.
‘He was the one that fought off the intruders, he fought two of them away to protect his wife and kids and unfortunately he passed away doing it,’ he said.
‘That’s one of the things you try and instill in your kids, the things important in life. And important for him in life was his family, and that’s what he protected.’
Police said Mrs Estorffe had seen the two intruders and was now working to provide a description of them.
After hearing the gunshots neighbour ran into the home in a bid to resuscitate the young father, but was unable to save him.
‘When officers arrived at the scene they found the husband deceased in the living room of an apparent gunshot wound,’ Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls said.
‘We do have individuals who say they saw a car parked nearby and then after those shots the car speeds off.
Mr Estorffe, from the Sunshine Coast, was shot dead after getting up to investigate when he heard his glass door smash in the middle of the night
Police are looking into leads that a car was seen speeding off in the area after the shooting. Pictured: the street the Estorffe family live on in Fort Bend County, Texas
‘You hear the glass breakage. You’re startled, you get out of bed. And then, within just a few seconds or so, there’s gunfire.
‘This was a young man that had a wife and two small children, who are now growing up without a father. It breaks your heart.’
Mr Estorffe’s mother, two brothers and sister are currently flying to the U.S to be by the side of his wife and children.
His father will remain in Australia, his sister Paige told Daily Mail Australia.
Cobin Estorffe, Brenton’s younger brother, posted a tribute on Facebook just hours after the incident calling his sibling a ‘hero’.
‘Still not real brother, life will never ever be the same without you. Hands down you are my hero the way you stood up for your family,’ he posted.
‘Can only dream to be a little bit like you. Thanks for the amazing times we had together. Miss you and love you so much.’
Police are also looking at CCTV footage and reports a car was seen speeding from the area after the shooting.
Mr Estorffe, a personal trainer from Mooloolaba, Queensland, moved to the in 2012 to chase his dreams of playing in the NFL.
But he played just one season of college football for Southern Virginia University.
Mr Estorffe’s father Michael said his son had been protecting his family when he was shot
A neighbour said she recently met the family for the first time, and described Mr Estorffe as a lovely person
In a university article published that year, Mr Estorffe spoke of his pride in playing for the football team.
‘It hasn’t completely set in that I have one more game to play in my collegiate career, but I feel fortunate to have been associated with such a great group of individuals over the past two years,’ he wrote.
Mr Estorffe studied a finance degree at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas – just an hour’s drive from where he would be shot dead years later.
In 2015 his career plans changed when he met his future wife.
The couple married and settled down in the small town of Katy, west of Houston. Mr Estorffe got a job as an assistant manager with Enterprise rent-a car.
The family’s neighbour Kimberly Patel told local TV station KHOU that she recently met them for the first time, and described Mr Estorffe as a lovely person.
Mr Estorffe’s death follows the 2017 shooting of Australian woman Justine Damond (left) by a police officer and the 2013 shooting of Melbourne baseballer Chris Lane (right) in Oklahoma
‘I can’t even imagine what the wife is going though right now,’ she said.
Ms Patel said crimes happen from time to time in the area, but the fatal shooting came as a surprise to her.
‘We’ve left our doors unlocked because we feel this is such a quiet neighbourhood. So it’s pretty shocking to be honest,’ she said.
Mr Estorffe’s death follows the 2017 shooting of Australian woman Justine Damond by a police officer and the 2013 shooting of Melbourne baseballer Chris Lane.