Police hunt masked gunmen after drinks company boss shot dead in robbery bid

A major manhunt is under way after a businessman was shot dead during an armed raid on his drinks delivery firm's warehouse.

Akhtar Javeed, 56, was tied up with three colleagues by two masked robbers, before he was led away and shot after they demanded keys to a safe, according to reports.

He was pronounced dead after being found in the street outside his business in Digbeth, Birmingham, at about 6.40pm on Wednesday.

West Midlands Police have declined to confirm whether anything was taken during the attempted robbery but have said the warehouse was specifically "targeted" by two masked men.

Speaking yards from the scene of the murder in Rea Street South, Chief Superintendent Andy Parsons said they had been alerted by a 999 call from staff at the business.

On arrival officers and paramedics treated Mr Javeed at the scene, but he died in hospital a short time later.

Norman Khan, 28, a car salesman, said he saw Mr Javeed lying in a pool of blood as paramedics fought to save his life.

"All his face was full of blood and there was blood on the floor," Mr Khan said. "There were three guys standing there, I think they knew him. They said he had just been shot.

"When he was in the ambulance they were trying to bring him back to life again. It was shocking."

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Mohammad Ashraf, 48, told how he was tied up with Mr Javeed before he died in what "sounded like an execution".

He said: "Then they asked for Akhtar and took him away. I can't remember if they said his name or asked for the boss. The next thing is I heard the gunshot. I didn't know what had happened.

"I didn't see it but it sounded like an execution. I freed one hand and rang the police on the landline."

Talal Butt, 49, told the newspaper he heard that his friend Mr Javeed was held at gunpoint with his hand behind his back when one of the attackers ordered: "Give us the keys to the safe."

Mr Javeed, from London, is believed to have run fast food supplies firm Direct Source 3 Ltd on weekdays and to have returned home at weekends.

Syed Abbas, 30, who lives at a property which Pakistan-born Mr Javeed owns in east London, said the businessman's wife and children had the news broken to them on Wednesday night.

Mr Abbas said: "Within 15 minutes of finding out his whole family went to Birmingham. They were crying and very upset."

It is understood that Mr Javeed's wife, two young children and a grown-up daughter live at the property in West Ham.

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Martin Slevin, of West Midlands Police CID, issued an appeal for witnesses or information about the suspects.