Two members of Hungary's Roma minority died Monday after they were shot as they fled a house set ablaze in a pre- dawn arson attack, authorities said, dpa reported.
The victims were a 43-year-old man and a 40-year-old woman, said police in Miskolc, the provincial capital. Another man suffered gunshot wounds.
Hungarian national police launched a special task force to investigate whether the killings in Nagycsecs, a village near the Romanian border, had a racist motive.
Police said petrol bombs were thrown at two houses with Roma residents, setting one on fire. When the four residents - two men, a woman and a child - fled the blaze, they came under shotgun fire, police said.
Hungary's justice and police minister, Tibor Draskovics, told reporters the government was treating the shootings as "an exceptionally important case."
Fire bombings of Roma settlements in Hungary have increased in recent months, although no deaths were previously reported. Authorities have rarely arrested any suspects.