An Australian man has been killed in Texas in a home invasion.
Brenton Estorffe, 29, was asleep in his home near Houston with his American wife and two young children when two male intruders broke into the property through the back door.
When Estorffe confronted them they shot him dead and fled the scene, local authorities said.
The incident occurred just after midnight on Wednesday local time. At 12.03am police received a 911 call to report a shooting at the home.
According to local media reports, a neighbour heard the shots ring out and ran over to try and resuscitate Estorffe, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said there is no reason to believe the young father knew the intruders. Nothing was stolen.
"It's sad. Sad. We have a homeowner here in Fort Bend County who is no longer with us — and the father of two small children. Breaks your heart," Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls told local media outside the Estorffe home, which was decorated for Halloween.
"We're just trying to gather as much information as we can to figure out who could have done this."
Police said Estorffe woke up to the sound of glass breaking and got out of bed to investigate, which is when he came face-to-face with the intruders who shot him.
As of Thursday morning local time, the suspects were still on the run. Detectives are following up surveillance camera footage and reports of a car seen speeding away from the scene.
"We do have individuals who say they saw a car parked nearby and then after those shots the car speeds off," Sheriff Nehls said.
Brenton's younger brother Cobin Estorffe, who had also moved to Katy, Texas, paid tribute to his "hero" sibling.
"Still not real brother," he wrote.
"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."
Neighbour Kimberly Patel recently met the Estorffe family for the first time.
"I can't even imagine what the wife is going though right now," Patel told local station KHOU 11.
She said crime of a serious nature in the area was pretty much unheard of.
"We've left our doors unlocked because we feel this is such a quiet neighborhood," Patel said. "So it's pretty shocking to be honest."
Another neighbour of the Estorffes who did not give a name expressed their shock.
"I've heard of a few break-ins around the general area, but nothing like murder."
According to The Australian, Estorffe was originally from Mooloolaba on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. He left Australia to study in America, attending Southern Virginia University from 2011-2014 where he played gridiron as an aspiring NFL player.
In 2015 he got married and moved to Texas to settle down in Katy, a town 30 minutes west of Houston. He had been working for rental car company Enterprise.
Those who knew Estorffe expressed their shock at his death on social media.
"He was a good man. My son and Brenton were roommates in UT after graduating from SVU," a Facebook user wrote.
"They recently reconnected. So many people are heartbroken."
A Twitter user tweeted at the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office:
"My husband went to school with this young man in Australia. I hope you guys catch the people who did this. Gun violence in this country needs to stop."
His children are aged three and one.