Mark Hausknecht, a well-regarded Houston cardiologist who has treated former President George H.W. Bush and was known for his compassion with patients, was shot and killed while riding a bicycle to work in a mysterious murder. The polo-shirt and khaki shorts wearing killer was also on a bicycle.
Former President Bush released a statement paying tribute to Hausknecht, who was a cardiologist for more than 40 years, as did others. Authorities have not yet said whether the slaying was random or Hausknecht was targeted by the shooter, who has not been identified in a perplexing set of circumstances that unfolded in broad daylight on a city street.
“Mark was a leader in the Houston Cardiovascular Associates and specialized in cardiovascular disease,” said Houston Methodist, in a statement, adding that Hausknecht was part of the DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center. The family he left behind includes two adult sons, including one who is a medical student. Both sons were Eagle Scouts, a person who knew the family told Heavy. He was married to a doctor named Georgia Hsieh.
Police released a sketch of the killer and surveillance photos and video of him, which you can see below.
A patient wrote on Facebook, “My heart is broken. The cardiologist Mark Hausknecht was the doctor killed today in Houston This was my heart Dr. for many years. What a great man and doctor. I had appt next month with him and he just ok my medicine on Monday.”
There is a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Killer Was Also on a Bicycle & Hausknecht’s Wife Released a Statement Urging Passage of ‘Sensible Gun Laws’
The shooting unfolded on July 20, 2018, a Friday, near the Texas Medical Center at around 8:50 a.m. After shooting Dr. Hausknecht, the unidentified shooter fled the scene on a bicycle. The murder occurred in the 6700 block of Main Street.
In a news conference, authorities said the killer turned to shoot at Hausknecht, firing multiple times.
“The suspect was on a bicycle as well, rode past the doctor, turned and fired two shots. The doctor went down immediately,” Executive Assistant Chief Troy Finner with the Houston Police Department said during the news conference.
The motive is not clear. According to NBC News, Hausknecht was riding his bicycle to work when he was shot.
“There’s a lot of cameras, so we’re hoping we can get some footage of this and bring this violent criminal into custody,” Finner said in the news conference.
In a statement, Houston police confirmed that the victim was Dr. Mark Hausknecht, 65.
“Homicide detectives are going over surveillance video from numerous businesses in the area in efforts to release video of the wanted suspect last seen on a light colored mountain bicycle traveling west on Southgate Boulevard.”
According to the police statement, “Dr. Hausknecht and the suspect were seen on bicycles traveling north on Main St. at the Holcombe Blvd. intersection. Less than two blocks later, the shooting happened in front of a hotel at 6600 Main Street.”
Hausknecht’s wife, Dr. Georgia Hsieh, released a statement that derided the “misguided notion that any society with more guns is a safer society.”
“After spending his adult life saving and prolonging the lives of others, my talented husband, Dr. Mark Hausknecht, had his life prematurely ended,” she wrote, according to ABC News. “‘Senseless’ has become a trite adjective to describe these tragedies, but what is senseless is the misguided notion that any society with more guns is a safer society.
“When students cannot go to school without fear, and teachers need to arm themselves, what has this country come to?” she continued. “As a trained emergency medicine physician, I am no stranger to the devastating consequences of both intentional and accidental firearm use. Now my family and I have joined the ranks of the tens of thousands of other grieving Americans who lose innocent loved ones each year.”
The statement continued, “So many have asked what can be done to help. While law enforcement has given you their focus on finding the criminal, I am asking you to use your vote and your voice to stem the tide of this growing public health epidemic. Write, email or tweet your Congressional Representative urging sensible gun laws. We owe it to future generations to leave a safer environment.
Our family would like to thank law enforcement, the medical community, and so many colleagues, patients, friends and neighbors who have reached out to support us during this difficult time. Mark loved this city. To honor him–work hard, be responsible, patient, tolerant and compassionate.”
2. Former President Bush Remembered Hausknecht for His ‘Compassionate Care’
In a statement from Kennebunkport, Maine, former President George H.W. Bush said he was “deeply saddened by the tragic circumstances surrounding the untimely passing of Dr. Mark Hausknecht in Houston earlier today, and 41 sends his most sincere condolences to the Hausknecht family, his colleagues at Houston Methodist, and his friends.”
The statement also quoted Bush as saying, “Mark was a fantastic cardiologist and a good man. I will always be grateful for his exceptional, compassionate care. His family is in our prayers.”
People who aren’t prominent also offered testimonials in the wake of Hausknecht’s death. “Dr. Mark saved both of my grandparents on separate occasions. He was a kind man who did so much for so many. He deserved better than that,” wrote one woman on Facebook.
Another woman wrote that Hausknecht was her son’s first scoutmaster, and added, “He was a wonderful person and I’m heartbroken that this happened.” Another woman indicated, “This is an incredible tragedy. Mark Hausknecht and his partners…are responsible for training me and making me the cardiologist I am today. And they are the reason I practice in The Woodlands. They have remained my heroes and role models to this day.”
3. Police Released a Brief Description of the Gunman, Who Was Wearing a Baseball Cap & Khaki Shorts
The gunman was described by authorities as being between the ages of 20 and 30, and “wearing a dark shirt and pants and riding a dark colored bicycle,” according to The Houston Chronicle.
Police released these photos of the killer:
The police statement was more specific. According to the police statement, “Witnesses stated the suspect is described as a white or Hispanic male, about 30 years old, about 5’10” with a slender build. He had a tan baseball cap, sunglasses, and was clean shaven. He was wearing a gray warmup jacket and khaki shorts.” After releasing the photos, though, police clarified that the shooter was wearing a blue short-sleeved polo shirt, a khaki ball cap, and khaki shorts.
Detectives asked any residents near Southgate Blvd. at Travis Street to check their surveillance cameras between 8:40 a.m. and 9 a.m. and contact HPD Homicide at 713-308-3600 if they see the suspect on the bicycle.
Dr. Kevin Lisman, a medical partner of Hausknecht, told ABC 13 that the slain doctor had no enemies.
“Mark never had an enemy,” Lisman said to the television station. “He was very quiet, and very humble. Just the kind of guy who would take care of anybody at the drop of a hat.”
4. Hausknecht, a Father of Two, Was Remembered for His ‘Kind Bedside Manner’ & He Owned a Home Worth More Than $2 Million
Dr. Marc Boom, president of Methodist, told Hausknecht’s co-workers about the murder in an email obtained by The Houston Chronicle. Hausknecht’s patients “appreciated his kind bedside manner and the extra time he took to answer their questions and fully explain their condition and treatment,” The Chronicle reported.
“We will all miss seeing Mark in the hallways and seeing patients in the cath lab and (coronary care unit), where he was known as a compassionate physician with a phenomenal bedside manner,” wrote Boom. “Our employees who worked with him said patients were so proud to call him their doctor.”
Property records list Georgia Hsieh, 64, as co-owning a home worth more than $2 million with Mark J. Hausknecht, and online records link him to two young men, Paul and Matthew Hausknecht, with the same last name (ages 31 and 29). One of those two men, Paul Hausknecht, is a medical student who has used the same address as the home owned by Mark. Mark Hausknecht and Georgia Hsieh are also listed together as having made charitable donations on several sites. A person who knows the family confirmed to Heavy that Matthew and Paul Hausknecht are the sons of Dr. Mark Hausknecht.
One woman indicated on Facebook that Hausknecht had sons writing, “This cardiologist who lived next door to my in-laws was fatally shot and killed today as he was riding his bicycle to the medical center. We are shocked and saddened. Our boys spent time playing with his boys. Senseless tragic loss.”
In 2016, Hausknecht and Hsieh jointly sued the Harris County Appraisal District in civil court. The case was listed as “tax appraisal.” There are also two medical malpractice suits against Mark Hausknecht in Harris County courts, but they date to 1992 and 1995. One was dismissed, and one has a listing of “order of non-suit filed.”
Hausknecht also had his flying license. His former flight instructor wrote on Facebook, “I remember him as a great guy and a very quick-learning student with a notable sense of humor. Any teacher will tell you that they have a few favorites. Mark was one of mine. What a tragic and senseless thing his death was. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.”
5. Hausknecht Specialized in Everything from Heart Failure to Coronary Artery Disease
Dr. Hausknecht’s Houston Methodist biography lists him as a specialist in “Cardiology Interventional Cardiology.” The bio lists the following under “education and training”:
“Medical School: Baylor College of Medicine-Houston, TX – 1980
Residency: The Johns Hopkins Hospital – Baltimore – 1986
Internship: The Johns Hopkins Hospital – Baltimore
Fellowship: The John Hopkins Hospital – CV – Baltimore
Fellowship: The John Hopkins Hospital – PTCA Service – Baltimore
Board Certification: Internal Medicine – Cardiology
Board Certification: Internal Medicine – Interventional Cardiology.”
You can also read a detailed biography for Dr. Hausknecht that lists the same information on the website of Houston Cardiovascular Associates, where he was listed as a physician. Dr. Hausknecht did his clinic and saw all of his patients at Houston Cardiovascular Associates, according to HCVA.
His clinical interests ranged from angioplasty to hypertension and atrial septum defect. Hausknecht graduated from Cornell University in 1975 and, five years later, he gradated from Baylor College of Medicine Medical School, the bio says. Hausknecht appears in an alumni photo on this page for Cornell University’s Sigma Pi Mu Chapter.