Joseph Pappas, Accused Of Killing George H.W. Bush Doctor, Commits Suicide When Confronted By Police

Joseph Pappas Dead
Texas Department of Public Safety/Houston Police Department / AP Images

The man suspected of murdering George H.W. Bush’s former cardiologist committed suicide Friday, August 3, after Houston police confronted him, officials said.

Joseph Pappas killed himself outdoors in a residential area northwest of his home said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo in a press conference.

Acevedo said the police department searched all Thursday night for the suspect and most of the week since a tipster told investigators they believed Pappas was the cyclist in the surveillance video released from the shooting.

On Friday morning, the police received a call that a citizen was following a suspicious suspect he believed was Pappas, as well as finding a wallet with his ID on the ground. Acevedo said he was not sure if Pappas left the wallet on purpose or by accident.

Upon following up to the call, police found Pappas, 62, wearing a bullet-proof vest. The suspect did not comply with officers’ commands and when backup closed in, Pappas shot himself in the head. The police chief said the markman’s suicide might have saved lives and avoided a shoot out.

“You don’t wear body armor when you are thinking of suicide.”

The suicide occurred just one day after a SWAT team and officers searched Pappas’ home when a neighbor told authorities they saw an open gate and spotted someone resembling the suspect. Investigators discovered an extensive intelligence file on the cardiologist while searching the residence, reported CNN.

Dr. Mark Hausknecht was shot three times while riding his bike on July 20. Pappas, who was also riding a bike, rode past the doctor before turning around and pulling the trigger, according to police.

While the manhunt took up police efforts this week, Pappas lived an ordinary life, in plain sight, according to the beneficiary of his home.

The day before gunning down the cardiologist, Pappas transferred the deed of his home in a rush to a woman who lives in Ohio. Janette Spencer said she received notification in the mail on July 23 that the home was deeded to her, News-Herald reported.

One of Spencer’s daughters was visiting Houston on July 30 and planning to meet Pappas when he texted her abruptly to cancel, according to the paper.

“Sorry for handling things this way,” the text read. “House and property is now yours. Please make the best of it.”

Police still believe Pappas sought revenge for his mother, who died on Hausknecht’s operating table over 20 years ago but they grateful the manhunt is over.

“The potential threat to the city from an accused murderer considered armed and dangerous is now over, closing another chapter of this horrific tragedy. And once again it involved heroic acts by frontline officers of the Houston Police Department, which has my gratitude for how it has handled this case and so many others.”