Tributes have been paid to a father-of-four who was shot outside his home and died in hospital on his 39th birthday.
Relatives of Haroon Zeb said the death of the “beautiful soul” had left his family in shock and led to an outpouring of grief in the local community, including among his many old school friends.
Mr Zeb, of Queens Cross, Dudley, West Midlands, worked as a manager for a taxi firm and was arriving home after a shift at about 12.35am on Sunday when he was shot.
In a statement issued by police, his family said: “Haroon was a beautiful son, brother, father, a real icon to this world.
“He eased the burdens of everyone he knew and his beautiful smile lit up every room he walked in.
“Today we mourn the loss of our hero who will be dearly missed. Forever in our hearts rest peacefully Haroon. We will love and miss you forever and your memories will be engraved in our hearts always.”
His cousin Shaz Saleem, chairman of the Dudley Private Hire and Taxi Association, told the PA news agency that the victim was about to open his front door to go inside when he was subjected to a “cowardly” attack.
Mr Saleem said of Mr Zeb: “He was a beautiful soul, people loved him. It didn’t matter how you felt… that man could make you laugh out of nothing.
“He was just such a character, such a wonderful guy. It’s so sad that everyone he knew is crying.”
Appealing for anyone with information about the murder to contact detectives working on the inquiry, Mr Saleem added: “The police are working incredibly hard but we believe in them and we know they will bring these people to justice.
“It was a cowardly act. If anyone has any information, please do come forward. This shouldn’t be happening in our town – it’s absolutely scary and ridiculous that we have got gun crime in Dudley.”
In a statement on his Facebook page, Mr Saleem added: “With unbelievable sadness I’m having to inform you of the passing away of my cousin Haroon Zeb son of Chairman Chaudary Mohammad Aurangzeb (Chairman Dudley central Mosque).
“This man was loved by all, once you met him you never forgot him, he was guaranteed to make you smile, but today it’s not just my family that mourns, thousands feel our pain.”
Detectives are examining CCTV and have issued an appeal for dashcam footage.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Munro, of West Midlands Police, said: “Haroon’s death is simply tragic, my thoughts are with his family and friends at this very sad time.
“Our investigation is continuing at pace as we try and understand what happened.
“I would urge anyone with information to get in touch as soon as possible.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe