Authorities in Texas are searching for at least two men who killed a 29-year-old father, shooting him inside his own home as he tried to defend his young family.
Brenton Estorffe, an Australian native living with his wife and children in the Houston suburb of Katy, died early on Wednesday, which was also his birthday.
Investigators contend Estorffe was shot to death fighting off two intruders who forced their way into his home.
Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls vowed to apprehend the killers during a press conference last week.
The sheriff beseeched the public to be on the lookout for a light-colored, four-door sedan with a sunroof that was caught on surveillance video fleeing the scene.
The car’s taillights may be broken, he said.
“He gave his life in defense of his family,” Nehls told reporters. “What more honor can you bestow upon an individual than that?”
Nehls then turned his attention to the two suspects, saying there’s a chance a third person may have been involved in last week’s homicide.
“They’re going to pay for this,” Nehls said, before urging the suspects to turn themselves in. “You came into the wrong county.”
Estorffe’s relatives flew in to Texas from Australia, and confirmed Brenton died protecting his family.
“He wrestled those two blokes away from his wife and kids,” Estorffe’s father, Michael Estorffe, told The Australian newspaper. “That’s when they shot him. Unfortunately, he paid the highest price.”
The sheriff told reporters Brenton was awoken by the sound of shattered glass moments before his death.
“Try to put yourself through this: somebody breaks the glass. You hear glass breaking at the back of your home. Two individuals enter the home. They startle you. You wake up and then all of a sudden a confrontation takes place and then the next thing you hear are gunshots,” Nehls said. “Brenton gets up, confronts two individuals inside the residence, at which point in time he was shot and killed. Brenton was there to protect his family.”
His wife and children, ages 1 and 3, were unharmed.
Estorffe’s widow called 911 after the shooting, and audio from the call was released to the media.
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“Help me please … ohh … someone just broke into my house and shot my husband,” Angeleanna Estorffe said in the 911 call. “I just heard glass shattering and then my husband jumped up and took off after them … and they just … they started shooting.”
According to investigators, one of the intruders was 5-foot-11 and had a medium build and a dark complexion. He was wearing a dark-colored hoodie with the hood covering his head.
The other intruder stood about 6 feet tall, and is described as having a slender build, a dark complexion and a buzz-cut hairstyle.
A $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrests and prosecution of the killers.
Police arrived at the home to find Estorffe dead.
The family had only moved to the neighborhood six months ago.
“We will stop at nothing,” Nehls insisted at the press conference. “We will investigate, we will investigate, we will investigate until we can bring these individuals to justice.”