Joseph Pappas, the suspect in the murder of Houston cardiologist Dr. Mark Hausknecht, was found dead on Friday, Aug. 3. Pappas was found dead in a Houston neighborhood of a believed self-inflicted gunshot wound as police were closing in.
“Police had indicated that the man had evidently shot himself, that the police evidently were coming up to him and asking him to put his hands up, and he put one arm up and, this is according to what this man said the police said, and evidently the man pulled out his gun and shot himself,” a neighbor and eye-witness told KPRC2 News.
According to reports, Pappas had been hiding in plain sight following the daylight murder of Dr. Hausknecht. From CNN.com:
Joseph Pappas, 62, has done ordinary things, like mowing his own lawn, a neighbor reported. But he also handed a courier paperwork to transfer his home deed and told the beneficiary he planned to kill himself, she told a newspaper. The details have emerged as investigators are even more convinced that Pappas “painstakingly planned” the bizarre daylight execution of Dr. Mark Hausknecht — carried out as both men rode bicycles — possibly as revenge for his mother’s death 20 years ago under the doctor’s care, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told CNN.
A former friend of Pappas told CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV that he believes Pappas had a hit list and was currently searching for his next victim. Pappas was an expert marksman.
“I personally do not think the doctor is the only person that he is going to target,” the unidentified friend said. “I think [Dr. Mark Hausknecht] was number one on the list. And Joe is extremely intelligent. He’s patient, he’s unassuming, he’s a deadly shooter.”
The friend then recalled a bizarre conversation with Pappas: “[When we were] hanging out together, over burgers and tacos, telling stories, he mentioned being called the ‘Greek shrimp’ in high school and said ‘Karma’s a real bitch,’ and one day the people who bullied him in high school would meet a day of reckoning,. [When Pappas] made the comment, at the time I thought it was a joke, ‘Hey, don’t worry, you’re not on my list.’ Now, looking back on it, it makes me queasy to think, ‘Oh wait, maybe this guy has a list.”‘
Dr. Mark Hausknecht was gunned down on July 20 when he was riding his bike to work. Pappas passed the cardiologist before turning around and firing three shots. Dr. Hausknecht was struck twice in the torso and once in the head, with police believing the killing was over a 20-year grudge after Pappas’ mother died on the operating table while having surgery performed by Dr. Hausknecht. Hausknecht was also the former cardiologist for President George H.W. Bush.