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Two other men aged 20 and 19 were injured in the attack in the Ladywood area of the city and were taken to hospital, but their injuries are not believed to be life threatening.
The shooting happened on the busy St Vincent Street West just after 5pm on Tuesday afternoon.
West Midlands Police said no arrests have been made and they are making enquiries to identify those responsible.
“Reassurance patrols have been stepped up in the area to support and reassure the community,” the force said.
The road was closed on Tuesday night with a heavy emergency services presence into the evening.
Following the shooting the police tweeted: “Cordons are in place and the public are advised to avoid the area.”
Speaking to BirminghamLive one eyewitness said: “Before 5pm, I heard what sounded like six gun shots, bang, bang, bang.
“About half an hour after the shots, I saw there were ambulances and police.”
West Midlands Police said: “Enquiries into the circumstances around the incident continue and anyone with information is asked to contact police via Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk between 8am and midnight, or call 101 anytime quoting log number 1754 of 7 May.”
Crimestoppers can be called anonymously on 0800 555 111. yahoo