Coronavirus researcher killed in suspected murder suicide
A professor close to making "very significant findings" about COVID-19 has been killed in a suspected murder-suicide.
Bing Liu, 37, a research assistant professor was found in his home in Pennsylvania on Saturday with gunshot wounds in his head, neck, torso and extremities, Ross Police Department said.
Police investigating Prof Liu's death believe a second man, identified as Hao Gu, 46, killed Prof Liu before returning to his own home and taking his own life, according to a report from The Sun.
Prof Liu was researching COVID-19 at the University of Pittsburgh and was close to making important findings about the deadly disease, according to his colleagues.
Police indicated the pair had been involved in a lengthy dispute regarding an intimate partner.
"Due to the fact that the individuals involved are not United States citizens and in accordance with longstanding protocol, our review has been forwarded to federal authorities," police said in a statement.
Investigators believe Mr Gu entered Prof Liu's home through an unlocked door before shooting him. The victim's wife was not home at the time of the alleged murder.
Dr Liu was a research assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine with an expertise in "computational modelling and analysis of biological systems dynamics".
His colleagues explained he was working on the novel coronavirus and its "mechanism of infection". They said they plan to try and continue his work.
In a statement, the university said it was "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."
"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," his colleagues said in a statement.
Detective Sgt. Brian Kohlhepp said the two men were known to each other, but there was no indication the attack was racially motivated.