UFC champion charged with shooting at molestation suspect

Mar 2, 2022, 4:08 AM | Updated: 9:52 pm

Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, left, with his attorney Alexandra Kazarian, right, makes an initial court appearance at the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in San Jose, Calif. Velasquez was arrested Monday on suspicion of attempted murder after he allegedly shot a man in Northern California, police said. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group via AP, Pool)

(Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group via AP, Pool)

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Former two-time UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez was charged Wednesday with attempted murder and multiple gun assault charges after authorities said he fired at a pickup truck carrying a man accused of sexually abusing a 4-year-old family member.

Velasquez was arrested Monday after he chased a pickup carrying Harry Goularte through busy streets in three Silicon Valley cities, ramming the vehicle with his own pickup truck during an 11-mile (18-kilometer) high-speed chase, prosecutors said.

Velasquez fired a .40-caliber pistol at the vehicle several times, wounding Goularte’s stepfather, who was driving, in his arm and torso, prosecutors said.

Velasquez, 39, appeared in court Wednesday but his arraignment was postponed until Monday. He is being held without bail at Santa Clara County Main Jail.

Celebrity attorney Mark Geragos is representing Velasquez. Geragos did not immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment Wednesday.

About 100 people wearing T-shirts that read “Free Cain” showed up at the courthouse to show their support.

Last week, deputies were called to a San Marin daycare owned by Goularte’s mother regarding allegations of sexual assault involving a child, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Wednesday.

After interviewing the child and others, investigators determined that a sexual assault had taken place and Goularte, 43, was arrested soon after, the office said.

Prosecutors said Velasquez on Monday went to the Goularte family home, where the daycare is located, and followed the truck through Morgan Hill and into San Jose, where he wounded Goularte’s stepfather. Goularte’s mother was also in the vehicle.

Later Monday, Morgan Hill police officers located Velasquez driving his pickup truck in San Jose and arrested him, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement.

“The sad tragedy is that Mr. Velasquez chose to take the law into his own hands, endangering the public and everyone in the truck,” Rosen said. “This act of violence also causes more pain and suffering to his family.”

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office said investigators believe there are other victims from the daycare and are working with potential witnesses and victims.

Goularte, 43, was arraigned on felony molestation charges in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Friday and a judge released him from custody without bail over the district attorney’s objections, Rosen said.

The Associated Press could not immediately determine whether anyone could speak on Goularte’s behalf.

He was released under the conditions that he stay in home detention in Morgan Hill, stay 100 yards away from any child under 14, and wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.

Goularte was on his way to get the monitor when Velasquez attacked the family, Rosen said.

Velasquez transitioned to pro-wrestling after retiring from his MMA career in 2019. A former two-time UFC heavyweight champion, he earned title belts in 2010 and 2012.

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This story has been corrected to show the victim was wounded in his arm and torso, not his hand.

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UFC champion charged with shooting at molestation suspect