Suspect in Killing of George H.W. Bush's Doctor Had '20-Year Grudge' After Mom Died in His Care

Joseph James Pappas, 65, is now wanted on an arrest warrant and is considered to be suicidal, armed and dangerous

Houston police have identified a suspect in the fatal drive-by bicycle shooting of Dr. Mark Hausknecht, a Houston cardiologist who treated former President George H. W. Bush.

In a Wednesday press conference, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said the suspect, Joseph James Pappas, 65, is now wanted on an arrest warrant and is considered to be suicidal, armed and dangerous.

According to Acevedo, Pappas’ mother was once one of Hausknecht’s patients and died during surgery more than 20 years ago. Police believe that Pappas shot Hausknecht out of retaliation. “It appears to be a 20-year-old grudge this person held,” Acevedo told reporters.

“There was a lot of planning that went into this,” Acevedo said. “There was a lot of planning and sadly some skill.”

Police received several tips that pointed towards Pappas, Acevedo said. One of the tipsters said that they had received a text that Pappas was going to kill himself. Officers arrived at Pappas’ home on Tuesday night but did not find him.


“The house has been cleared,” said Acevedo. “Evidence has been obtained that ties this person to this crime, and we believe this is the killer.” He declined to offer details on what police found.

Pappas has not been seen for about 36 hours, said Acevedo.

Hausknecht was riding to work when he was fatally shot last month by another bicyclist who was going in the opposite direction. The cardiologist, 65, was pronounced dead at Ben Taub General Hospital.

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Bush, 94, released a statement through spokesman Jim McGrath upon hearing of Hausknecht’s death, saying he was “deeply saddened.”

The former president “sends his most sincere condolences to the Hausknecht family, his colleagues at Houston Methodist, and his friends.”

Anyone with information about Pappas’ whereabouts is urged to call 911 or to call Crime Stoppers at (713) 222-TIPS.

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