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Advocates say the murders of four houseless victims have everyone on alert

This week, four bodies were found less than a mile apart. Police believe the four men who died were homeless, and are investigating if the shootings are connected.

SAN ANTONIO — Two shootings took place just blocks apart from each other this week, and police believe the four men who died were homeless.

Tuesday, police say two bodies of two men were found on Perrin Beitel. Friday, two more bodies were found less than a mile away on the same street.

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus didn't rule out the possibility that someone is targeting the homeless population. Investigators are looking into that, and whether the two shootings are connected.

RELATED: Two people dead following shooting in northeast San Antonio

In the meantime, outreach organizations say this just adds to the challenges homeless already face on the street.

"To see somebody who is already victimized be victimized further, it's sad. It's shocking," said Rex Brien, Vice President of Programs for SAMMinistries.

Advocates for the homeless say this week's murders have put their volunteers and people without homes on alert.

RELATED: Two people found fatally shot around car on San Antonio's northeast side

"That's one thing we have to be mindful of: That right now it looks a certain way, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is," said Brien, hoping for the possibility that the homeless were not a target. "The one thing that worries me is that this could further add to some of the negative stigmas of homelessness."

SAMMinistries has an outreach team in the streets of San Antonio. They're part of a large network providing services to the unsheltered.

"They may be, especially right now with the heat, up and moving around and doing things maybe at 2, 3 in the morning," Brien explained. "There's just a lot of things that happen that do place them at risk."

Brien added that new construction in northeast San Antonio could have played a part in moving homeless populations from their original locations.

Maria C. Turvin, Operations Director with Yanawana Herbolarios, leads a team of medics who care for San Antonio's houseless community using mobile botanical healthcare clinics.

"Death is a very brutal, cold, hard reality of our houseless relatives," she explained.

Turvin says the houseless are at a high risk of death to begin with, from heat or cold injuries and violence on the streets.

"Folks don't realize that this is not some new, shocking thing. This is just a regular part of their lives," said Turvin. "It's something that gets vastly underreported."

What's most shocking, she says, is the rise in gun violence adding another layer of danger to this population.

"It's only natural that as that kind of rise in violence happens, it affects them too," said Turvin.

All four homicides happened in San Antonio's District 10. To give perspective, police data shows six total homicides in that district in 2021.

No suspects have been identified in either case. If you have any information on these cases, call SAPD.

To see a list of San Antonio's resources for the homeless, click here.

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