The brother of a man who was killed in a car crash while trying to escape gunfire says the dead man was largely misunderstood and, despite having enemies, was a great family man who was loyal to a fault.
"I won't say he's my guardian angel but he's my guardian soldier," Jordyn Clulow told the Mercury.
"He would take a bullet for us."
Mr Clulow said his brother Daniel Merrett was in the "wrong place at the wrong time" when he was a passenger in a car trying to escape gun shots before crashing into a petrol tanker at Albion Park early Saturday morning.
"It's over petty stuff that doesn't involve him. And now he's gone, we are all numb," Mr Clulow said.
"He didn't deserve it, he was just going home to his family."
Mr Merrett had been at Jordyn's North Wollongong home for family drinks when he left to go home to his partner and twin one-year-old daughters at Warrawong.
His sister was driving and the car was also carrying his cousin and her friend.
Jordyn said his older brother called him during the journey.
"He didn't say much, just that he was in trouble and then he hung up," Jordyn said.
"That was around 1.30am. Next we got a call saying the car had crashed and they couldn't find Daniel. My sister had been rushed to hospital."
The next call told Jordyn and his mum that Daniel's body had been found. He died at the scene.
"He wasn't involved in anything to do with the gun fire," Jordyn insisted.
"This had nothing to do with him and now we have got a dead brother on our hands. Over what was a petty issue," Jordyn said.
"Now we've got to bury our brother because other people can't deal with their own dramas."
Damien Wearing agreed his best mate did not deserve to die.
"It's not what life should be. This was something that had nothing to do with him," Mr Wearing said.
"He should still be here, life is too short to not take care of each other.
"He was my best mate; we have been through everything together."
They will focus on showing Daniel's seven children the true man he was.
"If there was one tin of spaghetti in the house and five people, he would make sure it got shared," Jordyn said.
"He was always there for court cases for me, every time I was in jail he was out there waiting for me when I got out."
Daniel, who had a terminal brain disease and a catheter due to a kidney condition, loved to punt on horses, loved his poker and his Jim Beam, but most importantly he loved his family.
"He didn't have mates, he had family," Jordyn said.
"He was loyal and he would take care of everyone."
The boys were part of a "brotherhood, not a gang" who live by the code "My Brother's Keepers".