Police have identified a suspect in the murder of Dr. Mark Hausknecht, the doctor of former President George H. W. Bush, who was gunned down in broad daylight at the end of July while riding his bicycle in a residential neighborhood.
According to one report, he was likely “targeted,” given the nature of the murder.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told the press that they have a suspect for which they have a warrant for his arrest.
Fox News reports:
Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters that an arrest warrant had been issued for 65-year-old Joseph James Pappas, who investigators believe shot and killed Dr. Mark Hausknecht as he rode his bicycle to work on the morning of July 20.
Investigators believe that Pappas held a grudge against Hausknecht after his mother died while the doctor was operating on her more than two decades earlier. Acevedo said that officers had searched Pappas’ home Tuesday night and obtained additional evidence tying him to the murder.
Acevedo said the department received tips identifying Pappas as the gunman after authorities released new surveillance video Monday of the suspect riding his own bicycle through a neighborhood moments after the shooting. The footage showed a man wearing a ball cap, a short-sleeved polo shirt and khaki shorts.
“We need to find this guy,” Acevedo said of Pappas, who he described as armed, dangerous and possibly suicidal. “If he’s committed suicide, we need the body. If he’s alive, we need to find him.”
“We believe that this absolutely is the killer,” Acevedo added.
The killer, according to police, followed Hausknecht and then pulled ahead about a block before returning in the opposite direction and firing three fatal shots.
“There was a lot of planning that went into this,” Acevedo said. “There was a lot of planning and, sadly, some skill … The shots that he took, took some skill.”
What is the reason for the murder? Erin Elizabeth writes:
Twenty years ago the man’s mother died during surgery performed by Dr. Mark Hausknect. Chief Art Acevedo said, “It appears a 20-year-old grudge and sadly someone died.”3 Acevedo said a tip came in after the above surveillance video was released.
Hausknecht was a much loved Buddhist, dedicated gardener and former Boy Scout leader. Speaking about the doctor, Randall Hulet, a physics professor at Rice University who has been a close friend to Hausknecht and his family over 30 years said,
“It is absolutely unimaginable for anyone to have an issue with Mark. There aren’t many people who were as warm and unpretentious as he was.”
“Mark was a fantastic cardiologist and a good man,” President George H.W. Bush said in his statement. “I will always be grateful for his exceptional, compassionate care. His family is in our hearts.”
Police have released a sketch of the man they believe is the shooter.
Hausknecht’s wife, Dr. Georgia Hsieh, released a statement in which she emotionally responded with gun confiscation-style comments, saying her husband’s death was “devastating.”
“After spending his adult life saving and prolonging the lives of others, my talented husband, Dr. Mark Hausknecht, had his life prematurely ended,” she wrote. “‘Senseless’ has become a trite adjective to describe these tragedies, but what is senseless is the misguided notion that any society with more guns is a safer society.
“When students cannot go to school without fear, and teachers need to arm themselves, what has this country come to?” she continued. “As a trained emergency medicine physician, I am no stranger to the devastating consequences of both intentional and accidental firearm use. Now my family and I have joined the ranks of the tens of thousands of other grieving Americans who lose innocent loved ones each year.”
While I do mourn for the loss, this is not an issue that should target the rights of law-abiding citizens. It should be an issue that targets the crime of murder and brings justice to the murderer, and the murderer alone.