Houston police: Suspect in Bush’s doctor’s death killed himself

Houston Police

Houston Police Verified account @houstonpolice

Joseph James Pappas, 62, died from a single self-inflicted shot to the head, Chief Art Acevedo told reporters. Paramedics pronounced Pappas dead at the scene.

"This is our suspect".

Did the suspect have a hit list?

Police were searching for Joseph Pappas, who they say shot and killed cardiologist Mark Hausknecht on July 20 as the doctor rode his bicycle to work in Houston's sprawling Medical Center complex. Hausknecht's brutal murder rocked the Houston community, and Pappas was the main suspect.

Police warned earlier this week that Pappas should be considered armed and risky, and said that he had reportedly spoken of suicide during phone calls with unknown individuals.

The employee found a wallet belonging to Pappas that had been thrown on the ground and contacted the Houston police.

Investigators who searched Pappas' home this week found "a very extensive intelligence file" on Hausknecht, including information about the surgeon's residence, place of employment and other personal information, Acevedo said Friday.

The file also contained the names of "a couple dozen" potential doctors and other employees of the Texas Medical Center, which was notified of the discovery.

"This man is risky, this man is capable, this man has some skills", Acevedo told reporters at the time, noting that Pappas probably had numerous firearms and that he had not been seen for days. The motive for the shooting is believed to be the fact that Pappas' mother died while under the cardiologist's care more than 20 years ago.

In 2000, Hausknecht treated former president George H.W. Bush for an irregular heartbeat after the ex-president complained about lightheadedness.

On Friday morning, around 9:30 a.m. local time, police received a call about a confirmed sighting.

"(The witness) actually yelled, "Hey, I'm sorry, I thought you were a graffiti vandal, '" and Pappas kept walking, the chief said.

"This man is unsafe, this man is capable, this man has some skills (with firearms)", he said.

Tips helped police identify Pappas as a suspect.

Deputies patrolling the area the same night spotted an open gate at his residence they did not believe to be previously open as well as a light on inside. Pappas killed himself as officers closed in.

Another officer arrived on scene to assist.

"Suspect Pappas took a gun, shot himself in the head", Acevedo said. "Until we talk to him, we can't say definitively that that's the motivation behind this killing, but there's nothing else that would explain it".

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