Death of researcher in apparent murder-suicide may have thwarted 'significant findings' about coronavirus

The incident followed a "dispute regarding an intimate partner," police said.

May 6, 2020, 7:13 PM

A medical researcher in Pittsburgh was "on the verge of making very significant findings" about the coronavirus before he was shot and killed Saturday, officials said.

Bing Lu, a medical researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, was shot and killed as a result of a "lengthy dispute regarding an intimate partner," according to the university and police in suburban Ross Township.

Lu was found dead in his Elm Court home Saturday with gunshot wounds to the head, neck, body and extremities, police said.

Another man, Hao Gu, was found dead nearby in his car from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

"The males are both known to each other," said Detective Sgt. Brian Kohlhepp. "Investigative leads developed throughout the weekend have led us to believe that the male from the car shot and killed the man in the townhome before returning to his car and taking his own life."

Kohlhepp said there was "zero evidence" the shooting deaths had anything to do with "work being conducted at the University of Pittsburgh and the current health crisis affecting the United States and the world."

PHOTO: The townhouse on Elm Court where Dr. Bing Lu was found.
The townhouse on Elm Court where Dr. Bing Lu was found.

"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," officials with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine said in a statement. "We will make an effort to complete what he started in an effort to pay homage to his scientific excellence."

Bing, who earned his bachelor's and doctoral degrees in Computer Science at the National University of Singapore, had 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 University of Pittsburgh statement said.

Police said neither victim was a United States citizen and the case was referred to federal authorities.