A pioneering researcher said to be on the verge of a “very significant” breakthrough in coronavirus findings has been shot and killed in an apparent murder-suicide.
Bing Liu, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was found in his house on Saturday with gunshot wounds to the head, neck, torso and extremities, police said.
Detectives believe an unidentified second man known to the victim, found dead in his car, killed the academic before taking his own life.
In a statement, Pittsburgh said it was “deeply saddened” by Liu’s death, adding: “The University extends our deepest sympathies to Liu’s family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time.”
His colleagues at the institution’s biology department added: “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.”
Members of the university’s medicine school have vowed to complete his research “in an effort to pay homage to his scientific excellence”.
Detective Sgt. Brian Kohlhepp of Ross Police Department said there was “zero indication” that Liu was targeted for his Chinese nationality.