SEVERE WX : Wind Advisory View Alerts

George H.W. Bush's heart doctor shot, killed

Dr. Mark Hausknecht, a cardiologist who treated former President George H.W. Bush, was killed in a bicycle-to-bicycle drive-by shooting near Texas Medical Center in Houston, authorities said.

Posted: Aug 2, 2018 12:47 PM
Updated: Aug 2, 2018 1:03 PM

A week after famed cardiologist Mark Hausknecht was shot to death in broad daylight by a gunman on a bicycle, his loved ones still struggle to comprehend the brutal killing of the Buddhist, dedicated gardener and former Boy Scout leader they knew.

"It is absolutely unimaginable for anyone to have an issue with Mark," said Randall Hulet, a physics professor at Rice University who has been a close friend to Hausknecht and his family over 30 years. "There aren't many people who were as warm and unpretentious as he was."

Hausknecht, 65, whose many patients included former President George H.W. Bush, was gunned down last week on his less than two-mile bike commute to Houston Methodist Hospital, where he'd worked over three decades. Houston police said there is a "high probability" the attack was targeted but emphasized that the motive is still unknown. Though the suspected gunman was recorded on multiple surveillance cameras, he remains at large.

Hausknecht lived in an upscale neighborhood not far from the Texas Medical Center in southwest Houston with his wife, retired emergency room physician Georgia "G.G." Hsieh. They have two adult sons, Matthew and Paul.

Stunned by the murder, friends and neighbors pulled together to canvass the area where police believe the gunman may have fled, encouraging residents to look through their own security camera footage for any images of the suspect. Two frames obtained by CNN show the suspected gunman cycling on Southgate Boulevard near the site of the attack, but it is still unclear whether these are images from before or after the attack.

As the police investigation unfolds, aided by the FBI's Houston office, potential motives remain a mystery. Friends and colleagues said Hausknecht was not one to have enemies and remembered him as a quiet person with a "purposeful" life.

"Mark was such a warm human being. So many people considered themselves to be his best friend, including me. He was a very special person, at the top of his profession and yet so humble. ... He'd treat his fellow doctors and the lawnmower repair guy exactly the same," Hulet said.

Colleague and friend Dr. Neal Kleiman, medical director of the cardiac catheterization lab at the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center, echoed the sentiment. "The past couple days everyone has asked me about the George H.W. Bush story. But that's not how we think of Mark -- we thought of him as an excellent physician, a role model. We didn't think of him as a doctor to the stars."

A Houston Chronicle obituary described Hausknecht's impact on the community as a physician and neighbor, saying, "The man who healed so many hearts during his life, has left so many broken by his death."

Friends and colleagues say Hausknecht was knowledgeable about almost anything and cared deeply for those around him.

"The last few years, Mark's pride and joy was his gardening and growing his own food," said Kleiman. He grew vegetables and had a couple of fruit trees in his backyard. "He liked to barbeque -- he made the best salmon I've ever eaten. Going to his house was a treat."

In recent years, Hausknecht embraced Buddhism, Kleiman and Hulet said. He'd take annual trips to an ashram in Taiwan to meditate and study.

"He believed in hard work and keeping his mind sharp," Hulet said. "I'm a physics professor, and I think he read more about physics than I do. And the books he was reading were not popular books, they were difficult literature."

Despite his demanding profession, Hausknecht found time to serve as Scoutmaster for Houston Boy Scout Troop 11 between 1999 and 2003, when his two sons were scouts there.

Kent Johnston, chairman of Troop 11 at the time, remembered Hausknecht as being environmentally conscious, picking up trash whenever he could, even while canoeing on the rivers. Hausknecht and his sons had three canoes, Johnston remembered, including one that could be taken apart and stowed in a car.

While Hausknecht was Scoutmaster, Johnston said they did quite a bit of canoeing. "He was very interested in going to different rivers and streams." In 2002, Hausknecht organized a three-day, 70-mile trip down the Rio Grande. Four boys and three adults were split between four canoes. Most of the time they were pushed along by currents, but on one windy day it was clear that the person in the solo canoe would have to fight the wind by himself all day. Hausknecht volunteered, even though it wore him out, Johnston said, which was typical of him.

When Johnston retired from the troop after 25 years, Hausknecht came to the celebration. "I guess someone told him I was retiring, and Mark showed up. I thought that was very neat," Johnston said. "I'll be wearing my scout uniform to the funeral; the troop will be present in uniform. I'm expecting a large crowd. We probably won't fit in the church."

Hsieh spoke briefly to CNN outside the couple's home on Tuesday, saying she couldn't imagine why anyone would want to kill her husband. Her background as an emergency room physician exposed her to the "devastating consequences" of gun violence, she said, but she never thought that violence would hit so close to home.

Hausknecht's murder is one of 158 in Houston since the start of this year, according to police spokesman Kese Smith. Houston police have described the area where Hausknecht was killed as relatively safe. He was shot and killed during rush hour, in a part of town teeming with medical staff commuting to work.

"When I found out what had happened, I was in a meeting in Chicago," Kleiman said. "I got a text that said: 'I can't text this, it's about Mark Hausknecht.'... I was in tears. I think a lot of people were."

Both Kleiman and Hulet will speak at Hausknecht's memorial service on Saturday.

"If I break down, that's OK," Kleiman said.

Huntsville
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 60°
Florence
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 66°
Fayetteville
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 63°
Decatur
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 63°
Scottsboro
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 48°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 530744

Reported Deaths: 10978
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson764931522
Mobile40959804
Madison34735503
Tuscaloosa25749452
Montgomery24327589
Shelby23425249
Baldwin21123308
Lee15873171
Calhoun14496314
Morgan14288279
Etowah13826353
Marshall12213223
Houston10561281
Elmore10052205
Limestone9958151
Cullman9659193
St. Clair9652243
Lauderdale9420241
DeKalb8828186
Talladega8220176
Walker7231277
Autauga6918108
Jackson6809112
Blount6656137
Colbert6296134
Coffee5509119
Dale4830111
Russell440738
Chilton4284112
Franklin425682
Covington4118118
Tallapoosa4026152
Escambia393376
Chambers3560123
Dallas3547151
Clarke351061
Marion3116101
Pike310877
Lawrence300298
Winston274272
Bibb260564
Marengo249664
Geneva249477
Pickens234361
Barbour230757
Hale222877
Butler215969
Fayette212262
Henry188744
Cherokee184645
Randolph180141
Monroe177340
Washington167239
Macon158950
Clay156156
Crenshaw152257
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138753
Wilcox127030
Bullock123041
Conecuh110329
Perry107526
Coosa107228
Sumter104432
Greene92334
Choctaw60624
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 852841

Reported Deaths: 12255
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby956561619
Davidson89355933
Knox50675635
Hamilton44280494
Rutherford43046434
Williamson28015217
Sumner24012349
Montgomery20255225
Wilson18804234
Out of TN1840797
Unassigned16998134
Sullivan16794294
Blount15490193
Bradley15032150
Washington14597245
Maury13499172
Sevier13391175
Putnam11396175
Madison11168242
Robertson9756131
Anderson8760172
Hamblen8610173
Greene7877155
Tipton7359103
Coffee6905121
Dickson6840110
Cumberland6734132
Carter6634158
Gibson6526146
McMinn650898
Bedford6506128
Roane6282105
Jefferson6211124
Loudon613069
Hawkins6077107
Lawrence593887
Monroe584095
Warren554881
Dyer5425106
Franklin515090
Fayette506877
Cheatham455355
Obion454196
Cocke450099
Lincoln435763
Rhea434875
Marshall419058
Campbell415463
Weakley412865
Giles3996100
Henderson378976
White364170
Macon361978
Carroll361683
Hardin357167
Hardeman352664
Lauderdale318944
Henry318576
Claiborne318273
Marion312347
Scott312345
Overton301161
Wayne296334
Hickman284046
McNairy282054
DeKalb279654
Smith277839
Haywood271162
Grainger262850
Morgan250139
Trousdale250122
Fentress241547
Johnson240739
Chester214351
Bledsoe214211
Polk207824
Unicoi203549
Crockett203248
Cannon192031
Union190734
Humphreys179927
Grundy179334
Lake170326
Sequatchie169829
Benton166540
Decatur158639
Lewis158126
Meigs139125
Stewart132528
Jackson132036
Clay110131
Houston109333
Perry106628
Moore101117
Van Buren84723
Pickett76024
Hancock58912

Community Events