The married coronavirus researcher killed in a suspected murder-suicide in Pennsylvania was gunned down over “a lengthy dispute” about an “intimate partner,” police revealed Wednesday.
A probe into the deaths of University of Pittsburgh scientist Bing Liu, 37, and Hao Gu, 46, found the pair was squabbling about a mystery companion who Ross Township police would not identify.
“We found zero evidence that this tragic event has anything to do with employment at the University of Pittsburgh, any work being conducted at the University of Pittsburgh and the current heath crisis affecting the United States and the world,” the statement read.
Investigators forwarded their review of the case to federal authorities since the “individuals involved” are not US citizens, police said.
Detectives have previously said that Liu — a native of China — and Gu knew each other, but evidence showed the shooting had nothing to with the assistant professor’s ongoing COVID-19 research.
Liu was found Saturday shot several times in the head, neck and torso in his Ross townhouse. Police believe Gu, of Pittsburgh, then got into his car parked about 100 yards away and killed himself, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Nothing was stolen from the home, police said, and Liu’s wife was not home during the slaying.
Liu, an assistant professor in Pitt medical school’s department of computational and systems biology, and his wife, who had no children, largely kept to themselves, neighbors told the newspaper.
Dr. Ivet Bahar, head of the computational and system biology department at Pitt’s School of Medicine, said Liu was an accomplished academic making significant strides on a coronavirus research project focusing on the bug’s infection mechanism.
“He has been contributing to several scientific projects, publishing in high-profile journals,” Bahar told the Post-Gazette. “He was someone whom we all liked very much, a very gentle, very helpful, kind person, very generous. We are all shocked to learn what happened to him. This was very unexpected.”