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Killing of Bush's Doctor Likely an Act of Revenge: Cops

Joseph James Pappas named as suspect
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 1, 2018 4:04 PM CDT
This undated photo provided by the Houston Police Department shows Joseph James Pappas.   (Texas Department of Public Safety/Houston Police Department via AP)

(Newser) – A man suspected of killing one of former President George HW Bush's doctors may have been seeking revenge for his mother, who died on the doctor's operating table more than 20 years ago, authorities said Wednesday. Joseph James Pappas, 62, should be considered armed, dangerous, and possibly suicidal, Houston police Chief Art Acevedo said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. "There was a lot of planning that went into this," Acevedo said of the July 20 attack on Dr. Mark Hausknecht, adding that it appears a "20-year-old grudge" led to the attack, per CNN. Hausknecht was gunned down while riding his bike to work at Houston Methodist Hospital, which is part of the busy Texas Medical Center. Authorities say the shooter rode past Hausknecht before turning around and firing. A tip on Tuesday led police to suspect Pappas, the chief said, though he didn't elaborate as to the nature of the tip.

Acevedo said Pappas hadn't been seen in 36 to 48 hours, the AP reports. He said the last anyone had heard from Pappas was in a Tuesday morning text message in which Pappas wrote that he was going to kill himself. Acevedo said police searched his home at 4am Wednesday and found evidence that ties Pappas to the killing, but he declined to elaborate as to the nature of the evidence. The chief said Pappas, who was a peace officer in Harris County for three decades per the Houston Chronicle, is white and very fit, and that he's likely getting around on his 10-speed bicycle, which he rides "extensively and almost exclusively." Friends and family have described Hausknecht as a humble and generous man who was adored by his patients, volunteered in his community and cared about the environment. He was also an avid cyclist and rode his bike to work each morning, as he lived less than 2 miles from his office.

(Read more murder stories.)

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