Joseph James Pappas' home searched by officers for second time after false alarm

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Houston police give update after SWAT officers search neighborhood following reported sighting of murder suspect Joseph Pappas.

A reported sighting of Joseph James Pappas near his Westbury home sparked an intense search late Thursday as police set up a perimeter in hopes of catching the suspect.

After more than four hours and the involvement of a SWAT team, the sighting was deemed a false alarm.

Houston police say a neighbor called the Harris County Precinct 5 Constables' Office to report the sighting, spurring a frenzy of police activity outside the murder suspect's home on Stillbrooke.

HPD Executive Assistant Chief Matt Slinkard said deputy constables believed the suspect may have returned to his home after a light was seen shining inside the residence.

An open gate also sparked concern the suspect may have tried to gain reentry to the home one day after it was searched by police.

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A SWAT team has been called to the home of Joseph James Pappas after police received some kind of tip.



Neighbors were informed by authorities of the situation before SWAT officers and K-9 units were used to systematically search for the alleged killer.

The Houston Police Department said the house was cleared just after midnight Friday, and that their search for the ex-deputy constable continues.

A warrant has been issued for Pappas, who is suspected in the July 20 murder of Dr. Mark Hausknecht as he rode his bicycle to work in the Texas Medical Center.

Police urged anyone with information on Pappas' whereabouts to call 911.

WATCH: Lights can be seen glowing inside Pappas' home
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ABC13's Marla Carter says lights can be seen inside the home of Joseph James Pappas.



On Thursday, we learned more details about the murder suspect who is known to be an avid cyclist, just like his alleged victim.

As it turns out, both Dr. Hausknecht and Pappas had their bikes serviced at the same place, Planetary Cycles.

"I don't know that I like that distinction, but there's a common denominator, yes," said shop owner Adam Potter.

Potter said Pappas had his tire replaced back in April on the infamous bike he rode the day he allegedly killed Dr. Hausknecht.

Surveillance photos of the suspect's bike are similar to the year and type of bike Pappas had serviced, Potter said.

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Pappas was a skilled marksman, and investigators said he held a grudge for more than 20 years against the doctor over his mother's death. She died on Dr. Hausknecht's operating table.

Former FBI special agent Dennis Franks said the fact he allegedly acted on a 20-year grudge could say something about who Pappas is.

"Was that the real reason? Why hold a grudge for 20 years? I don't know," Franks said. "Was there something about his personality that would cause him to act on a grudge, was there something about his personality, from his upbringing, from his childhood that would cause him to act this way?"

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Potter said Pappas wasn't a frequent customer and he didn't know him. But, it's still strange to know the suspected killer and the victim both set foot in the same shop.

"It's a little unsettling. I feel horrible for the families," Potter said.

Follow Marla Carter on Facebook and Twitter.

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