A researcher on the cusp of making "very significant findings" related to the novel coronavirus was shot dead in Pennsylvania over the weekend. Bing Liu of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine was killed around noon Saturday inside his home north of Pittsburgh in what authorities describe as a murder-suicide. An hour after the 37-year-old's body was found with gunshot wounds to the head, neck, and torso, the body of another man was found in a car parked about 100 yards away, per NBC News and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Hao Gu, 46—believed to have killed Liu before returning to his car—died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials say. Police are still investigating a potential motive and the relationship between the two men but say they knew each other.
Liu had been working from home with his front and rear patio doors open to the elements, police say. The University of Pittsburgh says "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 former postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, who co-authored more than 30 papers, "was just starting to obtain interesting results," Ivet Bahar, Liu's supervisor within the computational and systems biology department, tells the Post-Gazette. "He was sharing with us, trying to understand the mechanism of infection, so we will hopefully continue what he was doing." Liu is survived by a wife, who was out of the house at the time of the shooting. (Read more murder-suicide stories.)