Man who killed president's doctor held 20-year-old grude, police say

Phillip File

Phillip File

"This is our suspect".

Pappas had worked as a peace officer until 1995 with two Houston-area constable officers.

Pappas was wanted in the murder of local cardiologist Mark Hausknecht, who previously treated the 41st president. It's believed that Pappas allegedly killed the cardiologist in June as an act of revenge for his mother's death 21 years ago.

Acevedo said Pappas was armed with a handgun and wearing a bullet-proof vest when an officer approached him.

Pappas also put together an extensive intelligence file on the doctor, which investigators found at his home, according to police. The doctor was shot while riding his bicycle in the Medical Center area.

"This man is unsafe, 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.

Joseph Pappas was pronounced dead on a suburban Houston street following an intense manhunt. Some 20 years ago, Pappas' mother died while the surgeon was operating on her, according to Acevedo. In 2000, Hausknecht treated Bush for heart problems, the Associated Press reported.

A man accused of killing one of former President George H.W. Bush's doctors fatally shot himself during a confrontation with authorities in Houston on Friday morning, the city's police chief said.

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The employee calls police again and explains that he told the man, "I thought you were a vandal".

The witness told police he then found a wallet near where the man had been sitting, and inside was an identification card for Pappas.

Within minutes, police units were deployed to the area and an officer spotted Pappas, according to Acevedo.

Pappas refused to show his hands to the officer and killed himself when a second cop arrived.

"You don't put on a bullet-proof vest to commit suicide", Acevedo said.

Hausknecht's family released a statement Thursday thanking Houston police and others who helped identify a suspect, and asking the public to focus on Pappas' photo and contact police if they know where he is.

Hausknecht was shot in broad daylight at the Texas Medical Center, a 1,345-acre (545-hectare) complex of hospitals and medical institutions that in the morning is busy with traffic, medical professionals heading to work, people going to medical appointments and construction workers. "I'm convinced that had that second officer not arrived, we might have had a shootout out here".

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