Authorities asked for the public's help Thursday finding a disheveled gunman who fatally shot a man and wounded two others in rural parts of Illinois and Indiana.

Investigators said the assailant approached his victims with strange questions, asking one man about honeybees and another about construction material, then pulled out a gun.

Sheriff Roy Dominguez said the shootings appeared to be random.

"We don't know what might have precipitated this rampage," he said.

Police had not received any reports about the gunman since Tuesday, when he killed a 45-year-old man near Beecher, Ill., about 35 miles south of Chicago, then wounded another man in the same area. He later shot a 64-year-old farmer near Lowell, Ind., about 10 miles east of Beecher.

Kaupas said his department has received more than 50 tips, but most failed to turned up any solid leads.

"We need the help of our citizens to solve this," the sheriff said. "He didn't just fall out of the sky. He's here."

Kristina Garza said her 19-year-old nephew had just started working at the construction company where he was shot in the head.

"It's very surreal," she said. "We're still trying to come to the realization that it has hit so close to home."

Both of the surviving victims remained hospitalized Thursday.

The farmer, who was shot in the shoulder and arm, was robbed of about $60. The other two victims were not robbed, authorities said.

Investigators believe the gunman is driving a light-colored pickup truck, possibly a blue or gray Chevrolet Cheyenne from the 1990s.

Dominguez urged people to take normal precautions to protect themselves.

"If that includes arming yourself, then that's what someone should do," he said. "Lock your doors. Always be on the lookout."