A respected Houston cardiologist was murdered Friday as he rode his bicycle to work in the Medical Center. Dr. Mark Hausknecht, age 65, was shot and rushed to the hospital but died. The murderer was also riding a bicycle. He rode past Dr. Hausknecht before turning and firing two shots at him. The shooter then rode off.
This is a bizarre story. Dr. Hausknecht treated former President George H.W. Bush in 2000 for an irregular heartbeat. Bush released a statement of his appreciation for the doctor’s care.
In 2000, Hausknecht appeared at a news conference at Methodist with Bush after the 41st president was treated for an irregular heartbeat.
A spokesman for the former president offered prayer and condolence to the doctor’s family, colleagues and supporters.
“Mark was a fantastic cardiologist and a good man,” Bush said in a statement. “I will always be grateful for his exceptional, compassionate care. His family is in our prayers.”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 22, 2018
The Houston Medical Center is a huge complex of world-class hospitals and medical offices. One well-known hospital there is MD Anderson Cancer Center which consistently is ranked as the best in the country.
The hospital said Hausknecht was an important member of the Houston Methodist staff and the DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV reports.
The area where the shooting took place is part of a 1,345-acre complex of hospitals and medical institutions, including the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and is busy with traffic and pedestrians during the day.
This act of violence happened about 9:00 A.M. on a sidewalk as Dr. Hausknecht made his way to work. He normally rode his bicycle to work and he was a fitness buff. As I write this late Saturday night, a motive still isn’t known for the murder. Was it a random act of violence or was it a targeted hit? Police are asking for the public to keep an eye out for the suspect. Described as either a white man or a Hispanic man, he is about 30 years old and was wearing a grey warm-up jacket, khaki shorts, and a tan baseball cap.
UPDATE #2: Composite sketch just completed of the suspect wanted in yesterday's killing of Dr. Hausknecht at 6600 Main. Suspect description remains same. If you recognize this male, call HPD Homicide 713-308-3600 or @CrimeStopHOU 713-222-TIPS. CS reward up to $5,000. #hounews pic.twitter.com/gQII98t7Ek
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) July 21, 2018
Sadly, murders are not uncommon in our nation’s fourth largest city but this one is odd. Adding to the unusual case, in my opinion, is a statement released by the doctor’s widow on Sunday. Instead of focusing on law enforcement’s efforts in catching her husband’s killer, she is advocating for gun control. My intention is not to be disrespectful to a grieving widow, an emergency physician, but dang, that sure didn’t take long.
His widow, emergency physician Dr. Georgia R. Hsieh, put out a statement mid-day Saturday, as her family and the tight-knit medical community reeled from the crime.
“‘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,” Hsieh wrote. “When students cannot go to school without fear, and teachers need to arm themselves, what has this country come to?”
“So many have asked what can be done to help,” she wrote. “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 congressman urging sensible gun laws. We owe it to future generations to leave a safer environment.”
As with everything in today’s hyper-partisan political environment, it looks like even grief has been politicalized. Nothing is known yet about this case. Was the killer mentally deranged? Was it a murder of revenge? We don’t even know if he legally purchased the gun used in the murder. This call to political action just sounds premature.
A man who saved countless lives lost his unexpectedly in a blink of an eye. Rest in peace, Doc. Here’s hoping the killer is found quickly and swift justice is served.