Ken Velasquez made his first public statement on Tuesday since his arrest on March 1 on attempted murder charges.
Police in San Jose, California, say Velasquez engaged in a car chase, then shot a man accused of molesting a young relative. Velazquez also faces charges of shooting at an occupying car and a package of weapons.
The case 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 Courthouse in March. On Tuesday, Velasquez thanked his supporters in a tweet while calling for the promotion of “the real victims in this case.”
Velazquez, 39, two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion. He has not fought in the UFC since losing 2019 to current heavyweight champion Frances Ngannou.
The alleged target in the shooting, 43-year-old Harry Goularte, was given supervised release in February after he molested Velasquez’s relative, who is 10 years younger than him. According to court documents obtained by ESPN, a Velazquez relative told police that Gularte took him to the bathroom of a daycare center on February 24 and touched his genitals. The child told the police that he had seen other children go to the bathroom with Golarty and that Golarty had done this to him “100 times”. According to ESPN, Goulart denied the accusations and claimed he helped a child put his pants on once when they weren’t worn properly.
According to court documents, Golarti lives in a house with a daycare center that is run by his mother. Golarti is charged with felony perpetration of an indecent and lewd crime with a child under the age of 14.
The alleged incident with Velazquez occurred three days after his release. Prosecutors say Velasquez followed Goulart’s parents as they drove to get him for his release and to obtain an electronic monitoring device. After his parents picked Gularte in the Morgan Hill suburb of San Jose, Velasquez shot him, according to court documents.
A car chase followed 11 miles south of San Jose, where prosecutors said Velasquez rammed the truck carrying Goularte with his truck. He then allegedly fired several shots at the car with a .40 caliber pistol, hitting Goularti’s 63-year-old stepfather in the arm and torso before fleeing the scene. Gularti’s stepfather survived his wounds.
Velazquez has been held without bail since February 28 and faces at least 20 years in prison if convicted on all charges.