The man who is suspected of killing Dr. Mark Hausknecht, former President George H.W. Bush’s cardiologist, seems to have a possible motive concerning an event that took place 20 years ago.

The man, Joseph James Pappas, may have held a grudge against Hausknetch for this death of Pappas’ mother on an operating table two decades ago. Police said that there “was a lot of planning and sadly some skill” that went into the murder.

The Murder

On July 20, Hausknecht was biking to work and crossed paths with Pappas who was also riding a bike, but in the opposite direction. Once they passed on another, Pappas allegedly turned around and fatally shot the cardiologist.


Surveillance video that was obtained by a neighbor was able to be enhanced to help identify Pappas as the alleged killer. A person who recognized the image stepped forward to identify Pappas.

The Suspect

The background of the suspect provides evidence of handling firearms. Pappas worked as a constable for Harris County as a peace officer and as a reserve officer for 30 years.

He was a multiple gun owner and his phone number was linked to recent listings of on a website that specializes in firearms auctions – guns, ammo, tactical vests and ballistic plates for car doors were among the items linked to Pappas.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Pappas after police searched his residence and did not find him. The suspected killer has made several phone calls indicating that he was considering suicide.

The Doctor

Remembered by families, friends and colleagues as a quiet and friendly man, Hausknecht lived in an upscale neighborhood not far from the Texas Medical Center in southwest Houston. He is survived by his retired emergency room physician wife and two adult sons, Matthew and Paul.