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Coronavirus Researcher Killed in Murder-Suicide

A University of Pittsburgh professor said to be on the “verge of making very significant” coronavirus findings was found shot to death over the weekend in Pennsylvania, authorities say.

Bing Liu, a 37-year-old research professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, was found dead in a home in Ross Township, NBC News reports. According to the medical examiner, Liu had been shot in the neck and head.

Police found the body of 46-year-old Hao Gu in a car less than a mile away from the Ross Township home an hour after finding Liu’s body. Detective Sgt. Brian Kohlhepp of the Ross Police Department said in a statement that the men knew each other, according to USA Today. Investigators believe that Gu, after a “lengthy dispute regarding an intimate partner,” shot Liu before returning to his car where he shot himself.

“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,” Kohlhepp said.

Liu, who earned his Ph.D. in computational science from the National University of Singapore, was working as a research associate at the University of Pittsburgh’s Computational and Systems Biology Department, NBC News report. The University of Pittsburgh released a statement saying they were “deeply saddened by the tragic death of Bing Liu.”

The university’s Computational and Systems Biology Department released its own statement. They said Liu was an “outstanding researcher” and “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.”

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