Daily US Times: A fatal shooting killed Chinese-born coronavirus researcher Bing Liu on US soil. The murder has now fuelled conspiracy theories around the world.
37-year-old Bing Liu was an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, was found dead in his house on Saturday.
After his colleagues said he was close to making “significant findings” on his studies of Covid-19, sparking online speculation it was an assassination. But police denied the theory saying it was a murder-suicide.
Why did Liu die?
According to the local police department, he was found with multiple gunshot wounds to the torso, neck, head and extremities at his home in the Pittsburgh suburbs.
The gunman was identified as software engineer Hao Gu (46), but authorities say he took his own life after returning to his car.
Homicide detectives said Liu and Gu knew each other. The investigation has determined it was a murder-suicide resulting from “a lengthy dispute regarding an intimate partner”.
investigators said there was “zero evidence” the case was linked to the current public health crisis and Liu’s research work.
Who was Liu?
After his murder, Liu’s colleagues described him as an outstanding researcher who “was on the verge of making very significant findings” towards understanding the cellular mechanisms of Covid-19 infection.
In a statement, they mourned Liu’s passing and pledged to complete his research “in an effort to pay homage to his scientific excellence”.
Liu, a native of China, earned his Bachelor’s degree and PhD in computer science in Singapore and then started conducting research in the US.
According to his online CV, he had collaborated with clinicians and biologists to study human immunity.
What are the conspiracy theorists saying?
A user on the Chinese social media platform Weibo wrote: “Oh my god. This seems like coming straight out of Mission Impossible. Perhaps he found out that the virus originated from an American lab.” Many similar opinions suggested he was killed because he was supposedly about to unravel the mystery of coronavirus’ origin.
Chinese officials and state media had previously promoted a baseless claim that the virus originated in the US and was brought to Wuhan by American soldiers. But US officials denied that claim and further blamed China over the origin of the virus. Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo said his administration has ‘enough evidence’ that the virus came out from a lab in Wuhan.
Some Weibo users said the case “seems too coincidental”. One remark reads: “A very unusual case. There are likely secrets hidden in the dark.”