A University of Pittsburgh researcher “on the verge” of a breakthrough in understanding the coronavirus was found shot dead in his home, according to a report.
Bing Liu, 37, was allegedly killed inside his Pittsburgh-area townhouse Saturday by a man who then went outside to his car and shot himself, WTAE, a local ABC affiliate, reported.
Police believe Liu and the suspected gunman, identified as 46-year old Hao Gu, knew each other — although their connection is not believed to be related to Liu’s research. Liu’s death appears to be a homicide but a motive remains unclear, police told the outlet.
“We haven’t had anything at this point that has come to the investigation that has anything to do with Mr. Liu’s employment or his research,” Ross Township Detective Brian Kolhepp said.
Liu was a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine, his department said Monday. The university described him as an “outstanding” and “prolific” researcher who was nearing completion of important work related to COVID-19.
“Bing was on the verge of making very significant findings toward understanding the cellular mechanisms that underlie SARS-CoV-2 infection and the cellular basis of the following complications,” the department said in a written statement.
“We will make an effort to complete what he started in an effort to pay homage to his scientific excellence. His loss will be felt throughout the entire scientific community.”