updated 8/25/2009 11:18:51 AM ET 2009-08-25T15:18:51

Three people have been found dead inside a barn in rural northeastern Tennessee following an overnight standoff with police.

The deaths initially appear to be a murder-suicide, said Kristin Helm, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The incident began Monday night in Mooresburg, about 50 miles northeast of Knoxville.

Hawkins County Sheriff's officials told WJHL-TV in Johnson City that the victims were two men and a woman and investigators believe the shooter was among the dead.

Officers found the bodies around 5 a.m. Tuesday and the state agency was asked by District Attorney General Berkley Bell Jr. to open an investigation, Helm said.

The names of the victims were planned to be released after next of kin were notified.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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