In light of all the suffering that has been brought upon us by the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems only fair that all other crimes and disasters should stop. Of course, this is not the case, and tragedies continue to take place outside of the pandemic.
The science community is currently mourning the death of a friend and colleague, who was killed this past weekend.
University of Pittsburgh professor Bing Liu was shot and killed in what looks like a murder-suicide over the weekend, according to the Ross Police department. His body was found in his townhouse on Saturday with gunshot wounds to his head, neck, torso, and extremities .
The shooter was identified as Hao Gu, a 46-year-old software engineer, who shot himself in his vehicle after murdering Liu. Homicide detectives have determined that the two men knew each other, and believe they were having a dispute regarding an “intimate partner” .
Who was Bing Liu?
Dr. Bing Liu was a Research Assistant Professor Computational Systems and Biology department at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Bing was described by his colleagues as “a prolific researcher” who made unique contributions to science. He has co-authored more than thirty publications and one book. He also offered his time mentoring the younger members of the lab in which he worked, as well as other students enrolled in the department’s various programs.
According to the University, Liu was doing important work regarding the novel coronavirus.
“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.”
Conspiracy Theories Begin
As soon as the news of Liu’s death became public knowledge, conspiracy theories began to make their rounds.
Previously, Chinese officials had suggested that the virus originated in a lab in the United States and been brought to Wuhan by American soldiers. Some conspiracy theorists are now speculating that perhaps Liu had discovered that the virus had, in fact, originated in a lab in the United States and that his murder was actually an assassination.
Many of these suppositions were brought forward on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. Some users seem to think that the timing of his death appears to be far too coincidental, and believe that his Chinese background put him at risk in the US.
Other rumors have now begun on Twitter, with some saying that the Chinese government may have had a hand in his death .
Liu’s Death Unrelated to COVID-19
Authorities have stated that there is zero evidence to suggest that his death was in any way related to the COVID-19 pandemic, or his current research regarding the virus . The university has committed to “[completing] what he started in an effort to pay homage to his scientific excellence.”
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