Published: Nov 30, 2010 8:40 PM EST
Updated: Nov 30, 2010 5:42 PM EST

BONNE TERRE, Mo. (AP) - A gunman opened fire Tuesday during an apparent domestic dispute at an eastern Missouri housing complex, fatally wounding three people before killing himself in nearby woods, an investigator said.

St. Francois County Coroner Jim Coplin said he did not immediately know the relationship between the suspect and the three other victims in the shooting, which happened shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday in one of a serious of relatively new duplexes in Bonne Terre, about 55 miles southwest of St. Louis. 

Coplin said all of the dead were adults, with two of the victims found inside an apartment. One of the victims was able to make her way to a vehicle outside the apartment before being taken by an ambulance to a neighboring hospital, where she died, Coplin said.

The shooter was found dead in a patch of woods behind the apartment complex, he said. Coplin said domestic violence was suspected because authorities had been called to the apartment in the last week or two.

The names and ages of the dead were not released. The shooting happened near North County High School, which was on lockdown until authorities determined there was no threat to students.

With nearly 7,000 residents, Bonne Terre once was part of the heart of Missouri's lead-mining district, its legacy and landscape once defined by towering piles of mining waste. The city also is home to a maximum-security prison housing the state's execution chamber.

--- Associated Press Writer Jim Suhr contributed to this report from St. Louis.

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