Coronavirus Researcher Shot Dead While on 'Verge of Major Findings'
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center researcher killed in mysterious murder-suicide
A coronavirus researcher, who was reportedly "on the verge of very significant findings," has been shot dead in his home during a mysterious apparent murder-suicide.
37-year-old Dr. Bing Liu, a well-respected University of Pittsburgh Medical Center researcher, was executed while alone at his home in Ross Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, on Saturday afternoon, police say.
Police identified the shooter as 46-year-old Hau Gu, who entered the property through an unlocked door and began shooting.
Dr. Liu was hit by bullets in the head, neck, and torso, and died from his injuries.
Gu then walked back to his car, which was parked outside, and then turned the gun on himself.
Both men were already dead when responders arrived on the scene.
Dr. Liu's wife was not home at the time of the homicide, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported and the couple doesn't have children.
According to police, Liu and Gu knew each other prior to the murder-suicide.
However, authorities are refusing to elaborate on the nature of their relationship or speculate about a motive.
Nothing was reported missing from Liu's home, and police said there is no danger to the public, reported KDKA.
Liu was a research assistant professor in UPMC's Computational and Systems Biology Department, according to a statement released by his employer announcing his untimely death.
"Bing was on the verge of making very significant findings toward understanding the cellular mechanisms that underlie SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19] infection and the cellular basis of the following complications," the statement read.
"We will make an effort to complete what he started in an effort to pay homage to his scientific excellence."
Liu, a native of China, earned his Bachelor's degree and Ph.D. in computer science at the National University of Singapore, according to The Dail Mail.
He then did his postdoctoral studies at the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
"Dr. Bing Liu was an outstanding researcher, who has earned the respect and appreciation of many colleagues in the field, and made unique contributions to science," the statement said.
He joined UPMC six years ago and went on to co-author a book and more than 30 publications, earning a reputation as a prolific researcher and well-regarded mentor to younger colleagues.
Dr. Ivet Bahar, head of the Computational and Systems Biology Department, told the Post-Gazette that Liu had only recently begun researching COVID-19 and "was just starting to obtain interesting results."
Liu is survived by his wife and parents, who still live in China.