A devastated family says a Miami dad died trying to protect his young daughter from armed and masked intruders.

36-year-old Maurice Renard Harris was shot multiple times late Tuesday night shortly after two heavily armed men entered his Model City home, pointed guns at Harris and his wife, demanded money, and threatened his daughter, police said.

His cousin said that Harris was shot after he stepped in when one of the men moved to enter his 11-year-old daughter's bedroom. "He tried to stop them by wrestling with them, fighting," she told CBS Miami.

The men fled after opening fire; Harris was rushed to hospital but did not survive.

“We call these two men beasts. These men are beasts,” said Miami Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kenia Reyes. "They storm inside a house. A little girl was just asleep when she was surprised by the gunfire. The father was just trying to protect her."

On Wednesday, Harris' wife of 16 years, Shekila Stewart, said her husband had no enemies and begged for anyone with information to come forward: "It would mean the world to me."

Records show Harris had prior convictions on loitering and drug charges, reports the Miami Herald, but lead detective Sgt. Confessor Gonzalez told CBS Miami that Harris' legal trouble was in the past and had no tie to the case: "This was a man who legitimately was trying to protect his daughter."

Neighbors marveled at Harris' bravery, hailing him as a hero.

"Unfortunately, he died, but he's a super dad," neighbor Terry Jones told WSVN. "I hope I have that much courage if something like that would've happened to me."

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