Man accused of retaliation killing of former Bush doctor found dead

The man suspected of shooting and killing a Houston cardiologist who once treated former President George H.W. Bush killed himself Friday morning after he was confronted by police, authorities said.

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Police said Dr. Mark Hausknecht, 65, was riding his bicycle near Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women just before 9 a.m. on July 20 when he was shot by another bicyclist going in the other direction. Earlier this week officials identified James Pappas, 65, as the suspected shooter in the case.

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Houston police Chief Art Acevedo said a Houston Parks Board employee called authorities around 9:20 a.m. Friday after spotting Pappas in an area known for vandalism in southwest Houston. The caller told authorities Pappas started to walk away when the caller approached him and that he put out his arms when the caller shouted an apology for mistaking him for a vandal.

The caller didn’t recognize Pappas until after he found the 65-year-old’s wallet, Acevedo said.

Authorities found Pappas a short time later, around 9:35 a.m. An officer confronted him, but Acevedo said he refused to show both of his hands. He was wearing body armor at the time, according to the chief.

After a second officer arrived at the scene Pappas shot himself once in the head, Acevedo said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.


“I’m convinced that, had we not had that second officer arrive from a different angle, that we might have had a shootout out there,” Acevedo said Friday at a news conference. “You normally don’t put on a bullet-proof vest when you’re thinking about suicide.”

The chief told reporters earlier this week that the killing of Hausknecht appeared to be the culmination of a years-old grudge.

“We have confirmed that (Pappas’) mom died on the operating table more than 20 years ago,” Acevedo said Wednesday. Hausknecht was her doctor.

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While executing a search warrant at Pappas’ house Tuesday night, authorities found a file with information about the cardiologist, police said.

“(Officers) found a very extensive intelligence file that this suspect had put together on Dr. Hausknecht,” Acevedo said. “He knew everything that you could possibly find on this man.”

Among the information was a page that included names of other doctors and employees at Texas Medical Center, Acevedo said. Authorities passed the information along to hospital officials.

Authorities warned Wednesday that Pappas was well-armed and suicidal after they learned he sent a text message to a person in which he said he was going to kill himself.

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