Cameron Ely: Killing of 'Tarzan' actor Ron Ely's son who was shot 22 times by cops ruled as 'justifiable homicide'
The fatal shooting of 'Tarzan' actor Ron Ely's 30-year-old son, Cameron Ely, in 2019 was a "justifiable homicide," officials ruled on Tuesday, October 6. The decision was made after authorities concluded that Cameron had fatally stabbed his mother, Valerie Ely, and had told police officers that he had a gun at the time of the incident.
The Officer of the Santa Barbara district, on Tuesday, released a detailed report into Cameron's fatal shooting by police, which occurred on October 15, 2019, and said that the sheriff's deputies "acted reasonably in his/her use of deadly force" when they shot the 30-year-old more than 20 times. Cameron had alerted police of a stabbing incident at his residence. When deputies arrived at the house, they found Valerie dead with multiple stab wounds. The deputies then began searching for Cameron, whose father confirmed that he was the suspect. After two deputies found a "disheveled" Cameron on a dark driveway, one deputy noted that Cameron had a knife wound on his neck.
"Both deputies saw that Ely had blood on him and believed he was the suspect in Valerie’s murder. Both deputies pointed their gun at Ely. At least one of them illuminated him with the light on his firearm," the report reads. "The deputies yelled multiple times at Ely to get down on the ground and to keep his hands up. Ely suddenly sprang upward. As he was moving to his feet, Ely bent forward at the waist, quickly moved his hands toward his waist, and yelled, 'I have a gun!'" the report continued, adding that each deputy then "fired his or her firearm multiple times, striking Ely."
Cameron, according to the report, was "moving and moaning" on the floor when the deputies requested a ballistic shield and moved to secure the area. "They quickly emptied Ely’s pockets to check for weapons. They did not find any weapons, but did find a metal garden hose tap splitter, a stack of playing cards, small rocks, a car key fob, an iPhone, crumpled papers, a bank card, a little plastic bag with a white powdery substance that later tested positive for cocaine, and a small plastic bottle labeled liquid vitamins," according to the report. "All four deputies reported that they feared Ely had a weapon until the point they handcuffed him, turned him onto his back, and pat searched him. The medics arrived very quickly because they had been staging on the street by the top of the driveway. Medics pronounced Ely dead on-scene."
The report comes just days after Ron Ely, 81, who played the lead role in the 1966 NBC series 'Tarzan', planned to sue the city of Santa Barbara and police for the wrongful death of his son and unspecified damages. Ely has said that his son was unarmed and was surrendering when officers shot him at least 22 times. The suit has also argued that Valerie, meanwhile, was left to die by the deputies who did not check whether she was still alive and took nearly 30 minutes to get medical assistance. Cameron's postmortem examination showed that the 30-year-old suffered 22 gunshots wounds in total, affecting his torso, neck, back, buttocks, and arms.
The civil claim filed by the former actor in July states: "The reprehensible conduct of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department Deputies was egregious, entirely unreasonable, and, accordingly, unconstitutional. Defendant Deputies did not know, and failed to check, if Decedent Valerie was alive when they arrived. Suddenly, and without any warning or legal justification, multiple Defendant Deputies opened fire on Decedent Cameron, striking him a total of 22 times with bullets from several department issued weapons. The shooting occurred less than 20 seconds after Defendant Deputies saw Decedent Cameron walk around the corner with his hands up, the universal act of surrender."
Cameron, who studied from Harvard, was working as a security guard. However, he had recently moved back with his parents. The 30-year-old was the first to call authorities on the night of the killings as he dialed 911 at around 8 pm. The operators, in a video obtained by the Blast, could be heard saying that he had spoken to a young male who said his "father tried to attack the mother." The operator added that when authorities called him back, the caller sounded "out of breath, unintelligible and crying." In a later call, Ron Ely, identified his son as his wife's killer.