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3 dead after shooting outside Walmart in Tallassee, victims had protection order against gunman

TALLASSEE, Ala. (AP) — A gunman crashed into a vehicle outside a Walmart store on Tuesday morning, opening fire and killing two women before taking his own life, authorities said.

Tallassee Mayor Johnny Hammock said as an investigation unfolded that it appeared the shooter purposely rammed a car into another vehicle in the store parking lot before he opened fire.

Two women inside the vehicle were fatally wounded, he said, adding the gunman then turned the weapon on himself.

The violence appeared to be related to a domestic dispute and there was no wider danger, Police Chief Matthew Higgins told reporters.

“(We’re) still trying to work out the details. It’s still fresh,” he said.

Police later said the women had just been granted a protective order against the suspect.

The victims were identified by police as Tresea Miller, 58, and Barbara Buttles, 75. The suspect is Harold Miller, 65. Police have ruled the case a murder-suicide.

WSFA-TV reports a judge last week granted the protective order for Tresea Miller, her 23-year-old son and Buttles against Harold Miller.

In the protective order, it indicates Tresea Miller and Harold Miller were married and had a divorce pending. Police confirmed there was a previous history of domestic incidents between the family members.

Hammock said all three people were from an area just outside Tallassee, a town of about 4,800 people roughly 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Montgomery.

“You just don’t expect anything like this happening, not here in Tallassee,” Dena Samuels said while at a restaurant about a mile from the store. “This is something that happens in a big city.”

Photos showed a white Nissan SUV with what appeared to be multiple gunshots in the windshield and a dented front bumper and fender.