Brenton Estorffe murder: Aussie’s father arrives in Houston
The father of murdered Australian Brenton Estorffe has arrived in Houston faced with the heartbreaking task of making funeral arrangements for his son.
Michael Estorffe was met by the sister of Angeleanna Estorffe, his son's wife, and Australian Consul General to Houston, Peter McGauran.
Four days after his son was shot and killed by two intruders in his own home while his wife and young children slept, Mr Estorffe said "it still hasn't sunk in that it is real."
Mr Estorffe said he wanted to go to his son's home in Katy where he was shot and died in the early hours of Wednesday morning local time.
"I want to go back to the house and have a look," he said.
"We lived here in Houston for two years, it was a great place. We really enjoyed it here. This is a real tragedy to us."
Asked how his son's children, three-year-old Asher and one-year-old Eliana, were doing he replied, "they will miss their father but hopefully we can help them get on with everything."
"We will just rest at home today and … have some reflective time with Ange and the grandchildren," he said. "Obviously we have to start the (funeral) arrangements."
Mr Estorffe's wife, Denise, and his daughter, Paige, arrived in Houston yesterday.
Mr Estorffe had faced difficulty obtaining an 'Electronic System for Travel Authorisation' (ESTA) needed for him to enter the US because he had worked for an oil company in Kurdistan.
"I would like to thank all the government officials as of late because they have really helped me get to this stage of the process," he said.
"I didn't want to go to the media to do that but I had no other option to start moving things forward.
"I really appreciate all my friends and everyone that helped me," Mr Estorffe said before breaking down in tears and walking away.
Police said they had no updates on the hunt for the suspects who killed Estorffe.
Authorities are offering a $US25,000 reward for information that leads to the capture of Estorffe's killers.
Police have released footage of a light coloured four-door sedan with a sunroof that was seen in the area shortly after Estorffe was killed.
One suspect is described as a male, approximately 5'11", dark skinned and wearing a dark coloured hoodie.
The second suspect is also a male, approximately 6 feet tall, with dark skin, a slender build and a shaved head.
Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls said police had not ruled out the possibility of a third suspect, potentially driving the getaway car.
"These individuals are going to pay for this. They came into the wrong county. We will stop at nothing to bring them to justice," he said.
A GoFundMe set up for Estorffe's widow and his children has raised more than $US31,000.
On Saturday, Mr Estorffe's wife appeared in public for the first time since her husband was shot dead in their home after confronting two intruders.
Angeleanna Estorffe, 25, clutched the arm of a friend and fought back tears as Fort Bend police described her husband as a hero for putting his life on the line for his wife and two young children.
Dressed in a light pink jumper and jeans, Mrs Estorffe appeared before the media to lend her support to the police's call for help to identify a "car of interest" seen on security footage speeding away from her home in Houston shortly after her husband was shot and killed on Wednesday morning.
However, she declined to take any questions.
Sheriff Troy Nehls praised the actions of Mr Estorffe who confronted the two men after hearing them break the glass back door of his home around midnight on Wednesday.
"He gave his life in defence of his family. What more honour can you bestow on an individual than that," he said.
Mr Estorffe, who moved to the US from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland with dreams of becoming a punter in the NFL, is believed to have died at the scene.
The Australian, his wife, Angeleanna, and their two young children, Asher, three, and Eliana, one, had only recently moved into their home in the small town of Katy, Texas, about six months ago.
The Australian man's colleagues at Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Houston said they were shattered by his death, describing him as a hard worker who "would give you the shirt off his back". They asked not to be named, citing the company's policy of not speaking to the media.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe set up for Estorffe's widow and two small children has already raised more than $US25,000.
Mr Estorffe's brother, Cobin, who moved to Texas five years ago, said on social media that his brother's wife was "very distraught and trying to keep a brave face for their children."
"It's still not real brother," Cobin Estorffe wrote on Facebook.
"Life will never be the same without you. Hands down you are my hero the way you stood up for your family. I can only dream to be a bit like you."
Residents in the pretty, tree-lined suburb, on the outskirts of Houston, expressed shock and sadness that such a crime could happen in their neighbourhood and described Estorffe as a friendly family man who would "always wave hello".
Karin Brunton, who lives across the street from the Estorffes, said she was woken by a noise around midnight on Wednesday morning.
"When I finally went outside I saw all the lights, the fire truck and ambulance. The family was out the front near the garage hugging each other," she said.
"We are all baffled by this. It is a quiet neighbourhood. The strange part is that they were home when the intruders tried to break in. It makes you think these are not particularly smart criminals."
Estorffe's next door neighbours, who said they were very close to the family and declined to speak on the record, helped remove some Halloween decorations outside the family's home and installed a plank of wood to block the gap in the side fence where the intruders broke in.
Haskell and Kim Ray, whose house is behind the Estorffes' four-bedroom home, said while they didn't wake up to the gunshots, they did hear a car "screeching away" from the scene.
They said the crime appeared unusual because the family was home and nothing was taken.
"It does make you wonder whether or not they were targeted. I just wish he had a gun so he could have defended himself," Mr Ray said.
"We would sometimes see the kids on the trampoline out the back. They just seemed like a nice, normal family."
It is the third shooting death of an Australian in North America in as many years.
On July 15, 2017, Justine Ruszczyk Damond, 40, was shot and killed by police officer Mohamed Noor in Minneapolis after she called 911 about a potential rape happening outside her home. Noor was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison in April and the city of Minneapolis paid $US20m ($AUD29m) to Damond's family in one of the largest settlements involving a police shooting.
On July 15 this year, Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend, Chynna Deese, were murdered by teenagers Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky, north of British Columbia. Their killers were found three weeks later, having taken their own lives.
Estorffe's wife Angeleanna sat through the press conference but declined to take questions.
Dreased in a light pink jumper and jeans, Mrs Estorffe was emotional as Mr Nehls spoke about her husband as an honourable man for putting his life on the line for his family.