Murder squad detectives have issued a pledge to people who have information about a brutal Birmingham murder - ‘‘we can protect you’’.

Dimitri Foskin was found collapsed in the driveway of a house in Newtown, after being shot in the chest by a mystery gunman who ambushed him on August 23. His murder occurred on a weekend when West Midlands Police had stepped up armed patrols amid fears of “rising tensions” between rival street gangs.

Det Chief Insp Richard Baker, who is leading the murder investigation, said he was keeping an open mind about the motive for this attack but promised witnesses could be protected if they came forward with crucial information about the identity of the killer.

He spoke out as Dimitri’s mother challenged the killer to be “man enough” to hand himself in. He said: “We’re aware that in an area where gang culture can play a part in young peoples’ lives people may fear for their own safety by coming forward. We have a proven track record of dealing with people and protecting their identities. If people have any information I would urge them to come forward.”

Dimitri had been to visit friends when he was attacked at about 10pm on Saturday August 23. It is thought the 24-year-old could have been shot in Kensington Street before being chased into nearby Hockley Close, where he was found, his face covered in blood.

His heartbroken sister Rochelle, aged 21, said his death had left a massive hole in the lives of his family and they had not been able to face putting up the Christmas tree and decorations this year.

“It’s not the same without him, it never will be,” she said. “He loved life and loved all of his family. Dimitri always had a smile on his face. There was only three years between us, it feels like someone has taken half of me away. We are just trying to stay focused but the closer it gets to Christmas the harder it gets. But it’s like it’s not Christmas in our house.”

Grief-stricken mum Gill Flaherty said he was due to move in with his girlfriend in September. “I never had chance to visit my son in his new house. I have to go and visit him in Witton Cemetery,” she said. “I don’t think the person or people who did this understand what they have done to our family. Christmas is supposed to be a happy family time and, although I’ve still got the rest of my family, life will never be the same again because Dimitri is not here. The fact that he’s not here has ripped our world apart.’’

Anyone with information can contact the Major Investigation Unit on 0845 113 5000.