Cain Velasquez offers support for 'true victims' in first public statement since arrest for attempted murder

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Cain Velasquez issued his first public statement on Tuesday since his March 1 arrest on a charge of attempted murder.

Police in San Jose, California, say that Velasquez engaged in a car chase, then shot at a man accused of molesting one of his young relatives. Velasquez is also facing charges of shooting at an occupied vehicle and a weapons charge.

The case has prompted an outpouring of support for Velasquez from the MMA community including from president Dana White, who wrote one of 33 letters of support for Velasquez to the Santa Clara County Court in March. On Tuesday, Velasquez thanked his supporters in a Twitter post while calling for strength for "the true victims in this case."

Velasquez, 39, is a two-time UFC heavyweight champion. He hasn't fought in the UFC since a 2019 loss to current heavyweight champion Frances Ngannou.

The alleged target in the shooting, 43-year-old Harry Goularte, was granted supervised release in February after allegedly molesting Velasquez's relative, who is less than 10 years old. Per court documents obtained by ESPN, Velasquez's relative told police that Goularte took him into the bathroom of a daycare center on Feb. 24 and touched his genitals. The child told police that he saw other children go into the bathroom with Goularte and that Goularte had done this with him "100 times." Per ESPN, Goularte has denied the charges and claimed that he helped a child with his pants once when they weren't worn properly.

Per court documents, Goularte lives at a home with a daycare center that's run by his mother. Goularte is charged with a felony count of a lewd and lascivious act with a child under the age of 14. A judge granted him supervised release over objections from prosecutors, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 19: Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez is seen in the corner of Gabriel Benitez during his featherweight fight against David Onama during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 19, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Cain Velasquez faces at least 20 years in prison if convicted of all charges. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

The alleged incident with Velasquez took place three days after his release. Prosecutors say that Velasquez followed Goularte's parents as they drove to pick him up for his release and to obtain an electronic monitoring device. After his parents picked Goularte up in the San Jose suburb of Morgan Hill, Velasquez shot at him, according to court documents.

An 11-mile car chase ensued to South San Jose, where prosecutors say that Velasquez rammed the truck carrying Goularte with his own. He then allegedly fired multiple shots into the vehicle with a .40-caliber pistol, striking Goularte’s 63-year-old stepfather in the arm and torso before fleeing the scene. Goularte’s stepfather survived his wounds.

Velasquez has been held without bail since Feb. 28 and faces at least 20 years in prison if convicted of all charges.

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