Sunshine Coast man gunned down in Texas home
An Australian man has been killed in Texas after armed intruders broke into his home at night, shooting him dead in a brutal attack.
Brenton Estorffe, formerly of the Sunshine Coast, had left home to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL but his American dream has turned to tragedy.
"We have a homeowner here in Fort Bend County who's no longer with us. A father of two small children, breaks your heart," Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls said, according to US network ABC.
"Pray for this young wife and her two small children because they are without their father. He was there to protect his family."
The 29-year-old was asleep in his home near Houston, Texas, with his American wife when he was woken up by the sound of breaking glass inside the house.
According to local police reports, Estorffe got out of bed to investigate and was confronted by the intruders, who had broken into the home Estorffe shared with his American wife Angeleanna and their two children, aged one and three.
The intruders, who had entered through the home's back door, shot Estorffe dead as his family slept.
The suspects fled and are yet to be apprehended, according to local reports.
The incident occurred just after midnight on Wednesday local time (4pm AEST). Police are investigating and asking neighbours to co-operate with surveillance footage.
They say the suspects did not get away with any valuables because the crime happened so quickly.
According to local TV station KHOU 11, neighbours are wondering if there was a specific reason the Estorffe household was targeted by the intruders.
The home was located in the small town of Katy, in a subdivision where many of the large brick homes have been decorated for Halloween.
The killing has left neighbours shocked, saying that the area has experienced a few break and enters but nothing as severe as homicide.
Police said Mr Estorffe was a "homeowner" and the "father of two small children … breaks your heart."
A neighbour, Kimberly Patel, said that Mr Estorffe was "as nice as he could be. I can't imagine what the wife is going through right now."
Ms Patel said that she has in the past left her doors unlocked at night because it is such a quiet neighbourhood.
"It's pretty shocking, to be honest."
According to The Australian, police received a panicked emergency call at 12.03am local time saying there had been a shooting inside the home.
Mr Estorffe was originally from Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast, and he had studied to be a personal trainer before moving to the US to play football, where he was joined by his brother Corbin, also an aspiring gridiron player.
He played a season of college football for Southern Virginia University, a school located three hours southwest of Washington, DC, in 2012.
Cobin Estorffe paid tribute to his "hero" sibling. "Still not real brother," he wrote on social media.
"Life will never ever be the same without you. 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. Miss you and love you so much Brenton."
Mr Estorffe is the third Australian to be gunned down in the US in recent years.
In 2017, Sydney-born Justine Damond, 40, was killed by a Minneapolis police officer outside her home when she called for help after hearing noises in an alleyway outside of her residence.
In July this year, Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend, Chynna Deese, were shot dead by two teenagers, who later took their own lives, on a highway in Canada.
In 2013, 22-year-old Melburnian Christopher Lane was shot in the back while jogging near his girlfriend's home in Duncan, Oklahoma. At the time of his death, Lane was attending East Central University on a baseball scholarship.