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How police closed in on man accused in doctor's killing

HOUSTON – Court documents released Friday show how police closed in on Joseph Pappas II, the man accused in the shooting death of Dr. Mark Hausknecht, earlier this week.

The big break in the case happened Tuesday when investigators got a tip from a neighbor of Pappas in the Westbury neighborhood. The tipster and another neighbor met with a detective.

Court documents state they told the detective they recognized the man seen in surveillance pictures and video, in the moments before Hausknecht was ambushed July 20 in the Texas Medical Center. 

They told the detective the neighbor they knew as Joey, "is known to ride his bicycle frequently and usually rides with a full backpack, in manner similar to the suspect captured on video."

Detectives Tuesday talked to a woman who described herself as a family friend. She told investigators she got a text message from Pappas, which indicated he was going to kill himself. She went to Pappas' home to check on him and police also went to the home.

The court documents state police encountered a large metal bar immediately inside of the front door that was "positioned in such a way that it appears it was intended to be used to buttress the front door against any attempt to force entry into the residence." 

READ THE CHARGING DOCUMENT

File: Joseph Pappas charging document

A solitary chair was set up directly in front of the window, "positioned in such a way that the occupier could look out directly in front of the house."

Investigators also found a document of the Last Will and Testament of Pappas printed in the kitchen.

In the garage, court documents state police found a vehicle containing three boxes of ammunition, matching the 22-caliber shell casings found at the scene of Hausknecht's killing.

The vehicle, a black Ford Crown Victoria, had the back seat removed, creating a large storage space using the trunk and back seat. Investigators said the space was big enough to conceal a bicycle.

According to court documents, investigators found a draft of a proposed police report with regard to a stolen 10-speed Schwinn bicycle, the same type Pappas owned. The document stated that the bike had been stolen between July 19, the day before Hausknecht's killing, and July 25. 

Investigators noted "the individuals involved in offenses during which vehicles are used commonly report those vehicles having been stolen at a time before the occurrence of the offenses in attempt to distance themselves from association with the vehicles in case the vehicles are identified by witnesses to the crime."

An online theft report was never filed by Pappas, police said.

Police have not found Pappas' bicycle, but said Pappas sent a photo of the bike to a friend on July 23 and that it was consistent with the bike seen on surveillance video on the day of the shooting.

Police believe Pappas killed Hausknecht over a 20-year grudge involving the death of his mother during surgery.

Detective said Pappas waited for Hausknecht to pass him, then began to follow the doctor for a quarter mile before killing him.

The shooting was captured on camera by a passing METRO bus.

Police said Pappas fatally shot himself Friday morning after a confrontation with two officers in southwest Houston.