A University of Pittsburgh professor who was "on the verge of making very significant findings" about COVID-19 was fatally shot in Pennsylvania over the weekend, authorities say.
Bing Liu, a 37-year-old research assistant professor, was found dead in a private home Saturday with gunshot wounds in his head, neck, torso and an extremity, according to the Allegheny County medical examiner.
An hour later, a second person, 46-year-old Hao Gu, was found dead in a vehicle less than a mile away, according to the agency.
Investigators believe the man who was found dead in his car killed Liu in his home before returning to his car and taking his own life, CNN reported.
Police believe the men knew each other, but Detective Sgt. Brian Kohlhepp of the Ross Police Department told CNN there was no indication Liu was targeted because he is Chinese. Liu's death was also not connected to his research, Kohlhepp told WTAE.
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Liu earned a Ph.D. in computational science from the National University of Singapore, studied as a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University and went on to become a research associate at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
In a statement, his colleagues described him as a "prolific researcher" who published more than 30 papers and was 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," the statement said. "We will make an effort to complete what he started in an effort to pay homage to his scientific excellence."
The university also released a statement saying it "is deeply saddened by the tragic death of Bing Liu, a prolific researcher and admired colleague at Pitt. The University extends our deepest sympathies to Liu’s family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time."
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