The Ross Township Police Department is investigating the alleged murder-suicide of a Pitt professor who had been working on a project related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bing Liu, 37, a research assistant professor, was found dead in his home on May 2, according to a press release from the Department of Computational & Systems Biology at the Pitt School of Medicine.
According to the Post-Gazette, police believe Hao Gu, a software architect, shot Liu inside his home multiple times. Gu was found dead in a nearby car from an apparent self-inflicted wound.
Ross police on May 6 said the slaying stemmed from a “lengthy dispute regarding an intimate partner,” according to the Post-Gazette.
“We have 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 health crisis affecting the United States and the world,” Ross police Sgt. Brian Kohlhepp said in a news release.
The Computational & Systems Biology statement described Liu as an “outstanding researcher who has earned the appreciation of many colleagues in the field and made unique contributions to science.”
Bing, who earned his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in Computer Science at the National University of Singapore, 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,” according to the release. He has worked at Pitt since 2014 and prior to that was a post-doctoral fellow in the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University.
“His loss will be felt throughout the entire scientific community,” the release said. “We will make an effort to complete what he started in an effort to pay homage to his scientific excellence.”
The University also issued a statement: “The University of Pittsburgh 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.”
The statement also pointed faculty and staff colleagues and students to support options. LifeSolutions, the faculty and staff assistance program, is available 24/7 by calling 866-647-3432. Online and digital services and resources for students are available by contacting the University Counseling Center at 412-648-7930, ext. 1.