HOUSTON >> A man accused of killing one of former President George H.W. Bush’s doctors killed himself when confronted by authorities, police said today.
Houston police Chief Art Acevedo said 62-year-old Joseph James Pappas died from a single self-inflicted shot to the head. Acevedo reported that Pappas had body armor on during the confrontation.
Police allege Pappas shot Dr. Mark Hausknecht on July 20 while the cardiologist rode his bike to work at Houston Methodist Hospital. Authorities had been searching for Pappas since announcing him as a suspect on Wednesday. Authorities had previously described Pappas as armed, dangerous and possibly suicidal.
Acevedo has said Pappas might have been seeking revenge for his mother, who died on the doctor’s operating table more than 20 years ago, in April 1997.
Hausknecht was shot three times while he was on his bike. Police had said shots that Pappas allegedly fired at Hausknecht as he also rode on a bike “took some skill.”
Pappas had worked from 1983 through 1995 as a peace officer with two Houston-area constable offices. He also worked from 1995 through 2013 as a reserve officer for these same constable offices, according to records from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.
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.
Hausknecht was also an avid cyclist and rode his bike to work each morning, as he lived less than 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from his office.
In 2000, Hausknecht treated Bush for an irregular heartbeat after the ex-president complained about lightheadedness.