A respected coronavirus researcher, who was “on the verge of very significant findings,” was shot dead in his home on Saturday, according to police.
Dr. Bing Liu, a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center researcher, was killed while alone in his home in Ross Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
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Police say the shooter, 46-year-old Hau Gu, entered the property via an unlocked door and began shooting.
Dr. Liu was killed after being hit by bullets in the head, neck and torso.
Police said Gu then returned to his car parked 100 yards away at Charlemagne Circle and turned the gun on himself.
According to police, Liu and Gu knew each other prior to the murder-suicide, but they would not 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 PhD in computer science at the National University of Singapore, and 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.