Watch CBSN Live

Suspect in Houston doctor's murder told friend he has a hit list

Friend talks about doctor's suspected killer
Friend talks about doctor's suspected killer 01:39

HOUSTON — In a chilling interview, a former friend of Joseph Pappas told CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV he believes the suspected killer of a Houston cardiologist has a hit list and may be hunting his next victim.

"I personally do not think the doctor is the only person that he is going to target," the friend told KHOU on the condition of anonymity. "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."

Pappas is still on the run and is armed and extremely dangerous, according to Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo.

The former friend says Pappas is highly-skilled and has a stash of firearms. He's an expert marksman who regularly competed in shooting competitions.

He's also a former law enforcement officer who worked as a deputy constable in Precincts 2 and 7.

"[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," the former friend said.

"[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."'

Manhunt for suspect in Texas doctor killing 02:30

Houston police announced Wednesday that Pappas is their prime suspect in  Hausknecht's murder.

Hausknecht was shot three times -- twice in the torso and once in the head -- while riding his bike to work last month in the Texas Medical Center.

Police say Pappas, also on a bike, followed the doctor then passed him, then turned back and fired.

The former friend says he believes Pappas is hunting his next victim or victims.

"If there's a bully he had in high school I would tell that person to take an unplanned vacation to Alaska," the friend said.

When asked about a possible hit list, Houston police said they can't comment on tips they've received while carrying out the investigation.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue