MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., March 1 (UPI) -- A gunman who lured his former boss to her death by ordering a pizza delivery to her home was identified as a brilliant scientist who had been fired by the victim.
Guyang Matthew Huang apparently killed himself Wednesday night near his home a short time after he allegedly shot his former boss to death at the front door of her Silicon Valley home while her teenage son and a pizza deliveryman looked on in stunned horror.
The Domino's pizza deliveryman rang the doorbell at the home of Tanya Holzmayer in Mountain View to deliver a pizza that Huang apparently had ordered in her name under her address. As Holzmayer explained that she had not ordered any food, Huang appeared and shot her at nearly point-blank range.
"It does appear at this point that it was some kind of a ploy or ruse to get the victim outside," said Mountain View Police spokesman Jim Bennett. "It was a complete surprise to the pizza delivery person."
Huang fled the scene and a short time later phoned his wife to tell her he had shot his former boss and planned to kill himself. His body was found a short time later along a jogging path not far from his Foster City home.
Huang, 38, was fired last June from PPD, a Menlo Park pharmaceutical research firm where Holzmayer was his boss, for unspecified violations of company rules. He had worked for the company for about a year and was in charge of molecular biology and bioinformatics.
The Chinese-born molecular biologist had worked in agricultural genetics and was once a ranking official at Beijing Genomics Institute.
The San Francisco Chronicle said Huang was considered a brilliant scholar in China who had scored 11th out of 230,000 students on his college entrance exam. He had been active in the political reform movement among Chinese immigrants after he moved to the United States in 1986.
His resume listed a Ph.D. from Amherst and employment with various companies in agriculture biotechnology; his work included study of the genome of the rice plant that is a major food source in his native land.
Friends said Huang had been depressed recently, however they were not clear why he had decided to seek homicidal revenge after so much time had passed. Holzmayer, in fact, had left PPD herself in December.
"The firing of Matthew Huang was one of your routine situations that happen all the time and are not worth a footnote," Igor Roninson, the head of the Division of Molecular Oncology at the University of Chicago, told the Chronicle.
Roninson, who said he knew Holzmayer for 30 years and had met Huang, said she had told him Huang's termination came at the orders of her superiors.
Holzmayer was considered a top genetics expert herself. A Russian émigré, she was a classical pianist who had distinguished herself in the molecular study of AIDS and the HIV virus.
"Every life lost is a big loss. But here was someone who was actually making a difference," Roninson lamented. "I'm absolutely convinced, from knowing Tanya and having met Matthew, that it was absolute insanity."
(Reported by Hil Anderson in Los Angeles)