Aussie dad farewells slain son: ‘We are very proud of you’
"I don't have much left to say except that we are very proud of you and it is a sad loss. Thanks."
With those words, Australian Michael Estorffe farewelled his son Brenton in the Texas town of Katy late yesterday local time, about 50km from Houston. Brenton, 29, was shot to death in his own home by intruders last week with his wife Angie and two children nearby. He died the day after his birthday.
"Kids like him follow their dreams. He had a dream for sure, but I wasn't always sure what he wanted back then," said Michael, who mostly remained composed and of good humour as he paid tribute to his son. He talked about a resourceful and persistent son who never gave up on his hopes and dreams.
Michael spoke of Brenton chasing his ambition to play basketball in the US, which later morphed into a love of American football. Later, he would meet his future wife, Angie, before settling in Texas to raise a family.
"Once he met Ange … he was such a happy person. He used to love helping people, he would move them forward. When people did a good job, he would make sure he thanked them."
Michael and Ange briefly touched Brenton's Australian flag-draped coffin yesterday as they said a final goodbye.
Chaplain Daniel Schramm summed up the feelings of Brenton's family and friends, and those of many Australians and Texans alike who have been shocked by his seemingly senseless slaying.
"It is hard to make sense out of this," Chaplain Schramm said. "How do you make meaning and sense out of this? It makes no sense. It is just not rational. I don't have a lot of meaning or words to share with you about what happened to this son of Australia.
"The confusion, the hurt, the anger, not knowing what or why, the devastation does not make sense. This tragedy that happened didn't just happen to his family, it happened to the community of Katy, to Texas and to Australia. It hits all of us.
"We can imagine seeing hope, although it is a little dark looking into that tunnel right now.
"There is a time to live, a time to die, a time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. Brenton would want you to take time to dance with your children and your loved ones."
Police have not yet made an arrest and admit the circumstances surrounding the murder are unusual.