The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is in mourning after the apparent murder-suicide of a scientist who was studying the coronavirus and was on the “verge of making very significant findings.”
Dr. Bing Liu, 37, was found dead over the weekend in his suburban Pittsburgh home on Elm Court from gunshot wounds to his head, neck and torso. He allegedly knew his killer, a man who walked to his car after the shooting and killed himself, according to reports. Liu’s research focused on computational systems biology, and his coronavirus research was leading to breakthroughs.
“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,” the biology department said on its website.
“His loss will be felt throughout the entire scientific community. Please keep his family, friends, and colleagues in your thoughts. Thank you,” the department added.
The University of Pittsburgh released this statement Tuesday:
“The University of Pittsburgh 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.”
The second man, who is the suspected murderer, was found dead in his car on Charlemagne Circle, near Elm Court. Police say it appears he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
According to police, the two victims knew each other. But so far a motive for the shooting has not been disclosed.
Ivet Bahar, the head of Liu’s department, said that Liu was a very talented, extremely intelligent, and hard-working individual. “He has been contributing to several scientific projects, publishing in high-profile journals,” Bahar said. “He was someone whom we all liked very much, a very gentle, very helpful, kind person, very generous.”
Investigators are currently examining the crime scene and circumstances but do not believe a suspect to be at large or a danger to the public.