Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez has been charged with attempted, premeditated murder and other charges after allegedly shooting at a man charged with molesting a close family relative.
The Santa Clara County (Calif.) district attorney’s office announced the charges two days after Velasquez, 39, was arrested Monday and booked on suspicion of attempted murder. Velasquez’s arraignment was delayed to March 7. He remains in the Santa Clara County Main Jail North after bail was denied and has been issued a no-contact order with three witnesses to the alleged crimes.
Prosecutors say the former UFC champ fired a .40-caliber handgun “multiple times” into a truck carrying Harry Goularte Jr., 43, the man charged with molesting his close relative. Velasquez also rammed the truck, a Chevy Silverado, with his Ford truck.
Velasquez faces a total of 10 charges, per ESPN: attempted murder; shooting at an occupied motor vehicle or aircraft; three counts of assault with a firearm; three counts of assault with a deadly weapon; willfully discharging a firearm from a vehicle; and carrying a loaded firearm with intent to commit a felony. If convicted, the ex-champ faces more than 20 years in prison.
Goularte Jr. and another female relative in the car were unhurt in the alleged incident, but a 63-year-old male relative of Goularte’s was allegedly struck once by gunfire. The relative is expected to survive after being taken to a local hospital.
“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 in a press release announcing the charges. “This act of violence also causes more pain and suffering to his family.”
Santa Clara police say Goularte Jr. is related to the owner of a childcare facility to which police were called Feb. 23 on an alleged sexual assault involving a child; Goularte Jr. allegedly lived at the facility but was not an employee. After interviewing the alleged victim, a four-year-old child, investigators determined an assault had occurred and arrested Goularte Jr., per a press release issued by the Sheriff’s department. Police say Goularte Jr. “inappropriately” touched the alleged victim on “multiple occasions.”
Goularte Jr. was hit with multiple charges of lewd acts with a minor, per the Sheriff’s office, and was booked into the Santa Clara County jail with bail set at $50,000. He was arraigned in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Feb. 25, but he was released on his own recognizance over the District Attorney’s objections, according to prosecutors.
The shooting allegedly took place in Morgan Hill, Calif. According to prosecutors, Velasquez allegedly followed Goularte Jr.’s truck and engaged in a high-speed chase through busy streets for 11 miles. The female passenger in Goularte Jr.’s car called 911. Velasquez was stopped and arrested by Morgan Hill police in San Jose.
Prosecutors say Goularte Jr. was on his way to get an electric monitoring device he was required to wear as a condition of his release when Cain attacked. A TMZ report on Wednesday said the fighter was enraged that alleged perpetrator was released from custody.
Investigators now seek additional information from other juveniles who attended the facility, which has been shut down by the owner pending the investigation, according to police.
Several UFC fighters have expressed support for Velasquez after details of his case emerged following his arrest.