Suspect identified in the murder of George H. W. Bush, the former doctor

A photo of Joseph James Pappas, the suspect in the murder of cardiologist Dr. Mark Hausknecht.

(Houston Police Department)

Houston Police announced Wednesday that they had identified a suspect in the murder of a prominent cardiologist who once treated former President George H. W. Bush.

The police Art Acevedo told reporters that an arrest warrant had been issued for 65-year-old Joseph James Pappas, who investigators believe shot Dr. Mark Hausknecht as he rode on his bike to get to work on the morning of July 20.

“We need to find this man,” Acevedo said of Pappas, who he described as armed, dangerous and possibly suicidal. “If he committed suicide, we need to the body. If he still lives, we need to find him.”

Dr. Mark Hausknecht and former President George H. W. Bush in 2000.

(Copyright 2000 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Researchers believe that Pappas holds a grudge against Hausknecht after his mother died, while the doctor worked on her for more than two decades earlier. Acevedo said that officers had searched Pappas’ home early Wednesday and obtained additional evidence of a link between him of the murder.

“We believe that this is absolutely the killer,” Acevedo said.

Acevedo said Pappas had not seen in 36 to 48 hours. He said the last anyone had heard of Pappas was in a Tuesday morning text message that Pappas wrote that he was going to kill himself.

Acevedo said the department received tips for identifying Pappas as the gunman after authorities released new video surveillance Monday of the suspect, riding on his own bike through a neighborhood moments after the shooting. The images showed a man with a ball cap, short-sleeved polo shirt and khaki shorts.

Investigators said the shooter passed Hausknecht from behind and drove at least a block ahead, before turning around and firing three shots at his victim.

“There was a lot of planning that went into this,” Acevedo said of the murder. “There was a lot of planning and, unfortunately, skill … with The photos that he took, took some skill.”

The chief told the people living in the area to be on the lookout for a Schwinn ten-speed bicycle, he said, Pappas drove “extensively and almost exclusively.”

In 2000, Hausknecht treated Bush for an irregular heartbeat after the 41st president complained about dizziness. After Hausknecht the death of Bush called him “a fantastic cardiologist and a good man.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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