Cain Velasquez has broken his silence for the first time since being charged with attempted murder in a shooting-related incident last month.
In a statement posted to his social media, the former two-time UFC heavyweight champion thanked everyone who has given him support and said his case is "complex and slowly unraveling as we speak."
Velasquez appeared briefly in court on Tuesday for a plea hearing, which will continue on May 6.
"To the true victims of this case, may God give you the strength to come forward," the statement read. "Though it is most difficult to relive the pain that has happened to you, in speaking the truth, justice will be served and your own true healing will start. I will never stop helping or loving my community and all of you. Thank you for loving me."
Velasquez, 39, was charged with attempted murder and multiple gun assault charges March 2, in relation to a shooting Feb. 28 in San Jose, California, per the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office. Velasquez is being accused of targeting Harry Eugene Goularte, who is currently facing charges of allegedly molesting one of Velasquez's young relatives. Velasquez is facing 10 offenses that could carry more than 20 years of jail time if he is convicted, per a court document. He has been held without bail since Feb. 28.
Per the DA's office, Velasquez gave chase to a truck Goularte was riding in over 11 miles through San Jose, rammed the truck and fired a 40-caliber handgun multiple times into the truck, which carried Goularte and two older relatives. A bullet struck Goularte's 63-year-old stepfather, Paul Bender, in his arm and torso, but he was expected to survive, according to a court document. Goularte's mother, Patricia, was also in the truck.
The full Velasquez statement is below:
"To everyone that has expressed your support, my family and I will never be able to thank you enough. From the bottom of our hearts and the depths of our souls, we are forever grateful for your love. Your selfless gestures and kindled words have given me strength in my darkest times. This story is complex and slowly unraveling as we speak. To the true victims of this case, may God give you the strength to come forward. Though it is most difficult to relive the pain that has happened to you, in speaking the truth, justice will be served and your own true healing will start. I will never stop helping or loving my community and all of you. Thank you for loving me - Cain Velasquez"
According to court documents, Goularte, who was not injured in the incident, is accused of a lewd or lascivious act upon a child under age 14.
Goularte, 43, was released from custody Feb. 25 without bail against the DA's orders, according to a DA's office statement. He was ordered to stay in home detention, remain 100 yards away from any child under 14 and wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. Goularte is due back in court Wednesday. The child, who is under 10, told an officer from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office on Feb. 24 that Goularte took him into the bathroom of a day care center and touched the child's genitals, per a court document obtained by ESPN. The child said Goularte said not to tell anyone what happened and that this had occurred "100 times." In the court document, the child said he witnessed other children go into the bathroom with Goularte as well.
Goularte denied any wrongdoing, saying he once helped a child with his pants when he saw the child didn't have them on correctly. Goularte lives in the same building as the day care center, which is owned by his mother, according to the court document. Goularte's mother told police she did not believe the allegations against her son.
Velasquez is regarded as one of the best heavyweight fighters of all time. He retired from MMA in 2019 and had a brief stint in WWE thereafter. Velasquez has been coaching at his longtime American Kickboxing Academy gym in San Jose.