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Top Stories: HPD Identifies Suspect in Killing of Doctor, Teen Charged in Connection with The Death of Good Samaritan, And More

What we’re following at Houston Public Media today

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Top afternoon stories:

The Houston Police Department has identified the suspect in the murder of Dr. Mark Hausknecht as Joseph James Pappas, 65.

HPD Identifies Suspect in Murder of Houston Cardiologist

Authorities have identified a suspect in the fatal shooting of former President George H.W. Bush’s doctor.

Houston police Chief Art Acevedo said at a news conference Wednesday that the suspect, 65-year-old Joseph James Pappas, should be considered armed and dangerous.

Acevedo said Dr. Mark Hausknecht operated on Pappas’ mother more than 20 years ago and that she died on the operating table.

Hausknect was fatally shot while riding a bicycle to work last month. Authorities said the shooter rode past Hausknecht before turning around and firing.

Acevedo said investigators think that a lot of planning went into the killig, and that it required a fair amount of skill.

In 2000, Hausknecht treated Bush for an irregular heartbeat after the ex-president complained about lightheadedness.

Murder charges filed against a 15-year-old male in connection with the death of good Samaritan

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) has filed capital murder charges against a juvenile male arrested for the killing of Houston resident Moyses Arreguin last week.

The crime has been labeled as the killing of a good Samaritan because Arreguin, 29, was trying to help a neighbor that was being robbed.

Chris Sandoval, from the HCSO’s homicide unit, didn’t release the name of the juvenile. 

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso (left), and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Ted Cruz leads Beto O’Rourke 49-43 in Quinnipiac poll

A new poll released Wednesday morning suggests a tightening race between U.S. Sen Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

The newly released poll from Quinnipiac University gives Cruz a six point lead: 49 percent of registered Texas voters reported backing the Republican incumbent while 43 percent said they support O’Rourke, an El Paso Democrat. The poll’s margin of error is 3.5 percent. The results are closer than a poll Quinnipiac released in late May, which showed Cruz holding an 11-point lead over his opponent.

Sister Janet Gildea of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso shows her support for DACA recipients during a rally in El Paso on March 5, 2018. Several rallies were held across the country to urge lawmakers to act on DACA, including a gathering in Washington, D.C.

DACA back in court next month as Texas moves to end program

When the state of Texas successfully halted a proposed 2014 federal immigration program to aid adult immigrants, the state’s attorneys were able to convince federal courts Texas would be irreparably harmed by the implementation of the sweeping initiative.

But as the Texas attorney general’s office goes to court next week in an attempt to shut down the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, that argument won’t be as strong because the program has been in place for more than half a decade, attorneys with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said Tuesday.

On Aug. 8, federal District Judge Andrew Hanen will hear the state’s request to have the program preliminary halted while the issue meanders its way through the federal court system. The hearing comes nearly a year after President Donald Trump promised to end DACA in September, by phasing it out over six months. But three different courts have since ruled that the administration must keep the program —which protects immigrants brought into the U.S. as children from deportation and allows them to obtain a two – year work permit — intact for now.

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Top morning stories:

Houston officials say Southwest Key lacks proper permits to open detention center for migrant children

Houston officials are speaking out after reports Tuesday night that a lawyer for nonprofit Southwest Key told state senator Sylvia Garcia it may open a facility in downtown Houston as early as this week.

Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña tweeted the proposed use of the facility would require a change in classification to get the correct approval.

A spokesperson for Southwest Key told Houston Public Media the nonprofit is still waiting on final licensing from the state. 

On July 31, 2018, Mayor Sylvester Turner spoke with Houston matters about a lawsuit the Houston Professional Fire Fighters has filed against him and Council Member Dave Martin.

Judge grants temporary restraining order in fire fighter’s lawsuit

State district judge Kyle Carter has ordered the city of Houston to remove a video from its website that the Houston Professional Fire Fighter’s Association says is in violation of the Texas Election Code.

HPFFA filed a lawsuit against mayor Sylvester Turner and city council member Dave Martin, alleging the two illegally used city resources to campaign against a ballot measure that would present Houstonians with a choice to support or reject pay parity between police officers and firefighters.

Mayor Turner responded to the lawsuit yesterday on Houston Matters.

National Flood Insurance Program extended

The Senate voted Tuesday to extend the National Flood Insurance program for four more months, and President Donald Trump signed the bill into law just hours before the program was set to expire. 

NFIP provides flood insurance for nearly 5 million homeowners and business owners. The program owes more than 20 billion dollars to the federal treasury, even after Congress provided a 16 billion dollar bailout last year to ensure the program could continue paying claims from people hit by Hurricane Harvey.

Santa Fe Police Department raising money for better arms

Deputies from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office on the scene of Santa Fe High School, where a shooting occurred in May.

The Houston Police Officer’s Union has partnered with the local League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) chapter to help officers in Santa Fe raise money for tactical gear like ballistic shields and helmets.

Earlier this week, Santa Fe ISD voted to accept more than $20,000 in weapons and training for school district police. Santa Fe ISD is planning a variety of enhanced security measures before classes start this fall, including the installation of metal detectors at all of the district’s schools.

3D scanners coming to Hobby airport

Hobby airport is set to get new 3D scanners for its security checkpoints. The TSA announced Monday it will install scanners at 15 airports around the country in the coming months.

The scanners produce 3D images of potential explosives, which officers can view from different angles.

TSA says that could mean fewer bag checks, and passengers may be able to leave laptops and liquids in their bags in the future.

 

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