37-year-old Bing Liu, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine said to be on the “verge of making very significant” coronavirus findings has been killed.
He was found dead Saturday inside a home in Ross Township, north of Pittsburgh, the Allegheny County medical examiner said.
He had been shot in the head and the neck, the agency said.
Investigators believe an unidentified second man, who was found dead in his car, shot and killed Liu in his home before returning to his car and taking his own life.
Ross Township police Detective Sgt. Brian Kohlhepp said that the men knew each other. Kohlhepp said authorities are still investigating their relationship and a potential motive for the killing.
Liu, who earned a Ph.D. in computational science from the National University of Singapore, worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University before becoming a research associate at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
The university issued 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.”
His colleagues at the university’s Department of Computational and Systems Biology said in a statement,
“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.”