Authorities in Atlanta are searching for a killer that could be targeting people sleeping outside after two homeless men were found murdered this week under troublingly similar circumstances, WXIA‑TV reports.

"[T]hey appear to have been sleeping when they were shot and both were shot multiple times, and we believe that most likely both were shot in the evening," said Atlanta Police Capt. Paul Guerrucci.

From NBC News:

The first victim, in his 40s, was found dead Monday in a small park he was known for sleeping at, just a couple of blocks from Emory University Hospital in the city's downtown, police said.

Two days later, the body of 64-year-old Tommy Mims, nicknamed Can Man, was found under a railroad bridge. Both men suffered multiple gunshot wounds and were found about two miles apart.

On Friday, Metropolitan Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless director Anita Beaty told NBC she thought the murders were a "a hate crime against the homeless." "All these people were asleep, wrapped up in the cold and they weren't doing anything. What a horrible, frightening pattern," said Beaty.

Crime Stoppers is currently offering up to $2000 for information on the crimes.

[Image via Shutterstock//h/t Daily Mail]