Police release footage of suspects in Aussie slaying

 

Police have released security footage of a car speeding away from the home where Australian Brenton Estorffe was shot dead in Texas.

Sheriff Troy Nehls said police were asking for help to identify a light coloured four-door sedan with a sunroof. He said there was a $US25,000 ($A36,500) reward for any information that could lead to the capture of the intruders who broke into the Estorffes' home in the early hours of Wednesday morning while they slept.

Mr Nehls said the first suspect is a male, approximately 5'11", dark skinned and wearing a dark coloured hoodie.

Screen grabs of crime scene where Brenton Estorffe was shot to death by intruders inside his home where his wife and two small children were sleeping. Picture: Supplied
Screen grabs of crime scene where Brenton Estorffe was shot to death by intruders inside his home where his wife and two small children were sleeping. Picture: Supplied

The second suspect is a male, approximately 6 feet tall, with dark skin, a slender build and short hair.

"Help us catch those responsible for this heinous crime," Mr Nehls said. "A wife and two small children now have to try and piece their life together without their loving husband and father."

Mr Nehls did not rule out the possibility of a third suspect, possibly driving the getaway car.

Screen grabs of crime scene where Brenton Estorffe was shot to death by intruders at home in Katy, Texas Picture: Supplied
Screen grabs of crime scene where Brenton Estorffe was shot to death by intruders at home in Katy, Texas Picture: Supplied

 

Brenton Estorffe and his wife Angelenna Estorffe. Picture: Supplied
Brenton Estorffe and his wife Angelenna Estorffe. Picture: Supplied

It came as Estorffe's distraught family are set to arrive in Houston to comfort Estorffe's wife, Angeleanna.

Estorffe's mother and siblings boarded a flight from Queensland to Texas yesterday, after learning the 29-year-old had been gunned down.

Estorffe had woken up to the sounds of his glass back door shattering and gone to investigate.

Fort Bend County Police said it was are scouring the greater Houston area and putting all resources into finding the offenders.

The vehicle of interest in the Estorffe shooting case is a light-coloured four-door sedan with sunroof. Picture: Supplied/HO
The vehicle of interest in the Estorffe shooting case is a light-coloured four-door sedan with sunroof. Picture: Supplied/HO

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.

18/10/2019: Michael Estorffe, the father of Brenton Estorffe who was gunned down trying to defend his family during a violent home invasion and burglary in Houston, Texas. Picture: Cade Mooney
18/10/2019: Michael Estorffe, the father of Brenton Estorffe who was gunned down trying to defend his family during a violent home invasion and burglary in Houston, Texas. Picture: Cade Mooney

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."

He announced that a GoFundMe page had been set up to help cover funeral costs.

Within two hours of it going live, more than $US8000 ($AU11,700) had been raised towards the $US15,000 ($AU21,950) target.

"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."

Brenton Estorffe with his wife Angelenna and children Asher and Eliana. Picture: Supplied
Brenton Estorffe with his wife Angelenna and children Asher and Eliana. Picture: Supplied

"It's sad, sad. We have a homeowner here in Fort Bend County who's no longer with us. A father of two small children, breaks your heart," Sheriff Troy Nehls said. "Pray for this young wife and her two small children because they are without their father. He was there to protect his family."

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 looks out at the house where her neighbour, Australian Brenton Estorffe, was shot dead. Picture: Scott Dalton
Karin Brunton looks out at the house where her neighbour, Australian Brenton Estorffe, was shot dead. Picture: Scott Dalton

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."

The family home in Katy, Texas. Picture: Supplied
The family home in Katy, Texas. Picture: Supplied

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.

Neighbours Haskell and Kim Ray said they heard a car “screeching away” following the shooting. Picture: Scott Dalton
Neighbours Haskell and Kim Ray said they heard a car “screeching away” following the shooting. Picture: Scott Dalton

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."

The street and house, right, where Australian Brenton Estorffe was shot dead. Picture: Scott Dalton
The street and house, right, where Australian Brenton Estorffe was shot dead. Picture: Scott Dalton

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.

The hole in the fence where intruders entered the home. Picture: Scott Dalton
The hole in the fence where intruders entered the home. Picture: Scott Dalton
Haskell and Kim Ray wonder if the house was targeted. Picture: Scott Dalton
Haskell and Kim Ray wonder if the house was targeted. Picture: Scott Dalton

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