Houston Police Say Suspect in Shooting of Renowned Cardiologist Held a 20-Year-Old Grudge

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Former President George H.W. Bush, right, with Dr. Mark Hausknecht after a news conference at Houston Methodist Hospital in 2000.

HOUSTON — A man whose mother died during surgery 20 years ago is the suspect in the fatal shooting of a prominent Houston cardiologist who performed the operation, police said Wednesday.

Chief Art Acevedo said the mother of Joseph James Pappas, 62, was a patient of Dr. Mark Hausknecht, who was fatally shot as he rode his bicycle to work at Houston Methodist Hospital on July 20. Police earlier said Pappas was born in 1953.

“It appears a 20-year-old grudge and sadly someone died,” Acevedo told reporters.

Acevedo said a tip came in Tuesday after surveillance video released a day before showed the suspect, whom someone said they recognized. Police got a search warrant and went to Pappas’ home, but he was not there.

Acevedo said Pappas had made phone calls indicating he was considering suicide. The suspect has not been seen in almost two days.

“This man is dangerous. This man is capable. This man has some skills (with firearms),” he said.

There was evidence at the home linking Pappas to the killing, the chief said.

The renowned cardiologist, who treated former President George H.W. Bush, and the suspect were seen shortly before the shooting riding their bicycles on South Main Street, police said.

Surveillance footage showed the suspect following Hausknecht as both pedaled north, police said.

Hausknecht’s wife, Georgia Hsieh, said police told her that her husband was riding through a construction area when the gunman rode up in front of him and fired three shots while facing him.

The cardiologist was found feet away from the construction site, where about 500 workers were on duty at the time, a construction manager at the site said. But no one heard anything because of the equipment.

A close-up surveillance image showed the suspect wearing a blue, short-sleeve polo shirt, a khaki or white cap, khaki shorts and an olive-green backpack, police said.

Mark Hausknecht yearbook photo, Tunkhannock High School, 1971

Other surveillance images showed the suspected gunman just behind Hausknecht as both headed north on Main across West Holcombe Boulevard, police said.

Police highlighted Hausknecht with a green circle and the suspect with a red circle on images posted on Twitter. The fatal shooting happened moments after that crossing, one block away, police said.

Hausknecht was a 1971 graduate of Tunkhannock High School in Pennsylvania.

1 Comment

  • Rob Smoot

    First off, if the shooter was born in 1953, depending on which month he was born in he would be 64 or 65 years old, not 62! This is just another example of someone with a gun gets mad and believe that they have a right to shoot people for whatever reason that offends them. The average person in society should not have guns in their possession when they have no support and people to control when they should or should not use a gun. More people or killed by people using guns that are mad at the moment and cannot control their anger than people being killed in self defense!

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