Sheriffs responding to a report of a shooting in North Carolina have found four people shot dead in what appears to be a coven for homeless people, authorities say.

An initial inspection of the crime scene showed someone killed three people before killing himself, Sampson County Sheriff's Office Eric Pope told WRAL-TV.

Authorities say two men and two women were found dead around a tent at the end of a private road strewn with huge potholes near Autriville.

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The names of those killed have not been released, and Pope said investigators were still gathering evidence to determine exactly how the shooting went.

Otryville is located about 90 km south of the state capital Raleigh.

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