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Police fear gunman may be targeting homeless

ATLANTA - After two men were shot and killed as they slept outside in Atlanta, police say they fear a gunman might be targeting homeless people.

The latest killing happened late Tuesday or early Wednesday near White Hall Street and Northside Drive, when a homeless man curled up in a blanket was shot multiple times as he slept, police said.

Another man, also believed to be homeless, was found dead Sunday. He was shot repeatedly while sleeping in a small park near Ralph McGill Boulevard and Courtland Street, police Det. David Quinn told WSB-TV.

"Please be aware that it appears that we have somebody that is targeting people that are sleeping at night and we're very concerned about that, police Capt. Paul Geurrucci said.

Geurrucci said the similarities of the killings have police greatly concerned.

Though it's not clear what the motive is, investigators say it's possible that the killer could hold a grudge against homeless people.

"That is a possibility that we are seriously considering," Geurrucci told WXIA-TV.

A $2,000 reward is being offered for information about the most recent killing, and police were working with local homeless organizations to urge homeless people to travel in pairs. Quinn was also out warning homeless people about the shootings as he revisited the crime scenes recently.

"Right now, the buddy system is key amongst our homeless brothers and sisters," Quinn told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We want to make sure they look out for each other. We want people to call in if anyone is missing."

Anita Beatty of the Metropolitan Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless said the group plans to create a flier advising homeless people to be on guard and take precautions.

"It's bad enough that you're sleeping outside in the cold, but to be murdered?," Beatty said in an interview with WXIA.

The names of the two men shot were not immediately released as police worked to notify their relatives.

Brent Mitchell, a homeless man interviewed by WSB, said he's fearful after the shootings.

"I'm shocked, I'm scared," he said. "So with that being said, I'm ready to go in, you know what I mean?,"


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