A research professor at the University of Pittsburgh who was on the verge of making “very significant findings” about the new coronavirus, according to his school’s officials, was killed in a suspected murder-suicide over the weekend, authorities said.
Bing Liu, 37, was found shot multiple times in his townhouse in Ross Township, Pennsylvania., on Saturday afternoon following what’s believed to have been a “lengthy dispute regarding an intimate partner,” a detective with the Ross Police Department told HuffPost Wednesday.
Liu, who the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported was married and without children, had been alone in his home when authorities say Hao Gu, 46, entered the property and shot him multiple times. Gu is believed to have then taken his own life inside of his car a short distance away, police said.
“We have found zero evidence that this tragic event has anything to do with employment at the University of Pittsburgh, any work being conducted at the University of Pittsburgh and the current health crisis affecting the United States and the world,” Police Det. Sgt. Brian Kohlhepp said in an email.
Liu is being remembered as a prolific scientific researcher who co-authored more than 30 publications — four of which were published this year — and had been using his expertise in systems biology to help make medical advancements in fighting the new coronavirus, officials at his school said.
“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,” according to a university statement. “We will make an effort to complete what he started in an effort to pay homage to his scientific excellence.”
Liu received his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees in computer science at the National University of Singapore and completed his postdoctoral studies at Carnegie Mellon University, according to the University of Pittsburgh.
“He was a very talented individual, extremely intelligent and hard-working,” Ivet Bahar, the head of the computational and system biology department in Pitt’s School of Medicine, told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. “This is someone who we’re going to miss very much at the department.”
Like Liu, Gu also had a promising background with roots in Asia. He was a software architect in Pittsburgh for power management company Eaton, which has offices globally. He had worked for Eaton for the past 16 years, a company spokesperson told HuffPost.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Gu earned a computer science degree at East Tennessee State University as well as a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s in science, pattern recognition and intelligent control at Tongji University in Shanghai.
The case has been forwarded to federal authorities for review, as neither Liu or Gu were U.S. citizens, the Ross Police Department said.