A medical researcher who was reportedly close to making important findings on COVID-19 has been found shot dead in a home just outside of Pittsburgh.
NBC News reports that 37-year-old Bing Liu, who worked at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine on the COVID-19 virus, was found dead with a bullet wound in his head and neck.
Just an hour after Liu’s body was discovered, 46-year-old Hao Gu was found dead inside a car around a mile away from where Liu was found.
Authorities believe that the second man, Gu, killed Liu and later died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his car.
Shot to death.
A medical researcher on the "verge of making very significant" coronavirus findings was found shot to death over the weekend in Pennsylvania, officials said.
Bing Liu, 37, was a researcher at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. https://t.co/HoItSy2ZsR pic.twitter.com/AgL2NgYNTX
— Shomari Stone (@shomaristone) May 6, 2020
Ross Township police detective Sgt. Brian Kohlhepp said law enforcement is still investigating the possible relationship between the two men and a motive for the killing.
As CNN points out, police believe there was “zero indication that there was targeting to his [Liu] being Chinese.”
Liu, who earned a Ph.D. in computational science at the National University of Singapore; previously worked at Carnegie Mellon University before he became a research associate at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
“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 University of Pittsburgh said in a statement.
“We will make an effort to complete what he started in an effort to pay homage to his scientific excellence.”
Meanwhile, Britain’s death toll linked to COVID-19 has risen to 29,427, the government said on Tuesday; meaning it has overtaken Italy in recording Europe’s highest total.
The total includes only deaths reported through the Health Ministry following tests in hospitals and care homes; with many experts estimating that at least 40,000 people have died following infection from COVID-19.
An official report on Monday in Italy, which has recorded 29,315 deaths, suggested it could have similar total to Britain.
Britain ranks fourth in the world for COVID-19 deaths per capita, behind Belgium, Spain and Italy, according to official totals. The U.S., which has reported 69,079 deaths, has the ninth-highest per capita death toll, according to data consultants Statista.