More information has been revealed regarding the circumstances that led to the arrest of former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez following an alleged shooting in California earlier this week that left one man injured.
Velasquez was arraigned Wednesday and faces multiple felony charges, including attempted, premeditated murder, however the man he shot was not his intended target, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
A statement from the District Attorney’s office said the intended target was 43-year-old Harry Goularte, who was recently charged with molesting a young relative of Velasquez. The man wounded in the incident is the stepfather of Goularte and sustained non-threatening injuries.
According to a report from The Mercury News, which cites court documents and sources familiar with the situation, the young relative of Velasquez attended a daycare run by Goularte’s mother. Velasquez’s young relative reported being molested by Goularte who resides at the same location as the daycare.
Goularte faces felony charges for allegedly molesting Velasquez’s underaged relative, however following Goularte’s arraignment at Santa Clara County Superior Court on Feb. 25 a judge granted his release from custody without bail despite the District Attorney’s objection.
Goularte was ordered to stay in home detention, wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and stay at least 100 yards away from all children under age 14.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office explained in their statement that Goularte was on his way to get the electronic monitoring bracelet when Velasquez confronted the vehicle.
Velasquez, 39, allegedly pursued a vehicle that contained Goularte in an 11-mile, high-speed chase in the San Jose area before firing multiple rounds into the vehicle with his registered handgun.
“Velasquez, driving a Ford truck, followed the victims’ Chevrolet Silverado truck, driven by Goularte’s stepfather,” the statement read. “During the 11-mile, high speed chase through busy streets into San Jose, Velasquez rammed his truck into the Silverado and fired multiple rounds with his registered .40 handgun. A female passenger in the Silverado called 911 for help.”
Police stopped and arrested Velasquez without incident shortly thereafter.
“The sad tragedy is that Mr. Velasquez chose to take the law into his own hands, endangering the public and everyone in the truck,” district attorney Jeff Rosen said. “This act of violence also causes more pain and suffering to his family.”
Velasquez spent more than a decade competing in the UFC and hadn’t fought professionally since 2019 but remained a popular figure in the MMA community.
Khabib Nurmagomedov, Israel Adesanya and Justin Gaethje are among the many prominent current and former fighters that have displayed public support for Velasquez in wake of the charges, some using hashtags #FreeCain and #FreeCainVelasquez on social media.
UFC president Dana White said he feels sorry for Velasquez and his family in his first public reaction to the news.
“It’s a horrible thing,” White told Barstool Sports. “I don’t know enough details to speak on it, but from what I’ve heard, we all say we’d do it if it ever happened to us. Cain did it.”
Per a criminal complaint obtained by USA Today, Velasquez was officially charged with attempted murder, shooting at a motor vehicle or aircraft, assault with a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon, willfully discharging a firearm from a vehicle, and carrying a loaded firearm with intent to commit a felony.
Velasquez, who faces 20 years to life in prison if convicted on the attempted murder charge, is next scheduled to appear in Monday, March 7.