The grandfather who died when his car was rammed by suspected Bourke Street killer Zain Khan was a generous philanthropist who championed women scientists.
John Haasz, 76, died at the scene when Khan allegedly drove his mother’s Toyota through the intersection of Russell and Bourke streets in Melbourne’s CBD, colliding with her white Hyundai.
Mr. Haasz was only 5 km from his home in East Brunswick when the tragedy occurred at 6:20 p.m. on Friday.
Khan, 26, also allegedly hit a second car, a gray Mazda, but the driver survived.
Moments earlier, he allegedly struck three pedestrians, two of whom suffered head injuries. Another man is recovering from a broken pelvis and concussion.
John Haasz, 76, died at the scene when his white Hyundai was allegedly hit by Zain Khan driving his mother’s Toyota (scene photo)
Bouquets of flowers were left on the corner of Bourke Street and Russell Street in Melbourne’s CBD, where Ms Haasz, a grandfather and noted philanthropist, died.
Zain Khan faced 10 charges, including murder, after the horrific incident. He has been remanded in custody and will appear in court in January.
Mr Haasz died at the scene when Zain Khan allegedly crashed into him in Melbourne
A woman who was crossing the street at the time miraculously escaped unhurt when the two vehicles collided right in front of her.
Mr Haasz was well known for making charitable donations to the arts and sciences and for championing equality at the University of Melbourne.
He also funded several awards and programs at the university and donated money to Wesley College, the Victorian Opera, the Australian National Academy of Music and the Australian Center for Moving Image.
In 2008, he donated $100,000 to the University of Melbourne’s Astrophysics Research and Study Group.
The academic funded three physics scholarships worth up to $5,000 each year.
Last year it funded the University of Melbourne’s WISER (Women in Science Emerging Researcher) Awards for 2021 and 2022.
“It is important that women feel like they have an equal position and opportunities in these areas,” Haasz said.
The awards were won by Professor Jennifer Flegg, Dr Iliana Medina Guzman, Associate Professor Elizabeth Hinde and Dr Helen Green.
READ MORE: Facebook posts from accused driver
A series of bizarre social media posts made by the accused Bourke Street killer have been revealed, including one in which he claimed: “I’m not crazy. even God says so.
Another reading: “Justice will be done.”
One of Zain Khan’s social media posts.
Mr Haasz also donated to the Australian National University.
On Sunday, Khan’s mother broke her silence to reveal that her son was suffering from mental health issues.
The woman, who did not wish to be identified, said her son was a “nice child” and a “humble son” who had become “sick” since he stopped taking life-saving medication.
It also emerged that Khan, a former barber, had made a series of strange posts on Facebook in recent years, including one in which he shared a link to a “soul-touching Quran recitation”.
‘I am not crazy. even God says so,” Khan captioned the post in September 2020.
Another post in 2019 simply said: “Justice will be served.”
The accused murderer has also repeatedly shared his admiration for a notorious American rapper murdered in 2016 while awaiting trial for domestic violence offenses.
Khan declared his adoration for Jahseh Onfroy, known professionally as XXXTentacion, in a post, adding: “He had light in his soul. he is my only psychologist.”
He was employed at a cafe at Melbourne’s Sunshine Public Hospital, about 20km west of Bourke Street, and worked on the day of the tragedy.
Eerie footage shows Khan, dressed in white, sitting on the roof of the Toyota for several minutes before officers pull him down and arrest him (pictured).
But Khan didn’t finish his shift Friday and left work early.
A video of Khan also appeared online showing him sitting in a car staring intently at the camera lens. Other clips show Khan dancing alone.
Khan was charged with one count of murder, three counts of attempted murder, three counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and two counts of conduct endangering life.
He was committed to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on January 15, 2024.