On Saturday, 37-year-old COVID-19 researcher Dr. Bing Liu was found dead in his apartment in Ross Township, north of Pittsburgh, as a result of multiple gunshot wounds. Liu’s death was ruled a homicide on Sunday, according to authorities.
The body of a second man who knew Liu – identified on Tuesday by the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office as Hao Gu, 46 – was located in the same apartment complex, shot dead in his car about 100 yards from Liu’s apartment of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot to the head, police revealed in a statement.
“The males are known to each other. Investigative leads developed throughout the weekend have led us to believe that the male from the car shot and killed the man in the townhome before returning to his own car and taking his own life.”Ross Township Police statement
It is believed that Gu entered Liu’s home through an unlocked door before shooting him in the head, neck, torso and extremities. Liu’s wife was not home at the time of the shooting and they had no children.
As a research assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine, Dr. Liu had an expertise in “computational modeling and analysis of biological systems dynamics.”
Originally from China, Dr. Liu received his Bachelor of Science PhD in Computer Science at the National University of Singapore in 2012, with his postdoctoral fellowship studies to follow at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg.
Colleagues described Liu as “prolific” and an “outstanding” researcher. “He was a very talented individual, extremely intelligent and hard-working,” said Ivet Bahar, the head of the computational and system biology department in Pitt’s School of Medicine.
According to the university, Liu co-authored over 30 publications, 4 in 2020 alone, and a book.
“He has been contributing to several scientific projects, publishing in high-profile journals. He was someone whom we all liked very much, a very gentle, very helpful, kind person, very generous,” said Ms. Bahar, who has a doctorate in chemistry. “We are all shocked to learn what happened to him. This was very unexpected.”
“He was just starting to obtain interesting results,” she said. “He was sharing with us, trying to understand the mechanism of infection, so we will hopefully continue what he was doing,” Bahar continued.
In a statement, the Pitt department called Mr. Liu an outstanding and prolific researcher and an excellent mentor.
“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. We will make an effort to complete what he started in an effort to pay homage to his scientific excellence.”Statement from University Department Personnel
Ross Township Sergeant Brian Kohlepp said they are still investigating the relationship between Liu and Gu as well as what may have prompted the murder-suicide. He noted Liu’s home had not been ransacked, and the front and back patio doors had been left unlocked.
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