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'Tarzan' actor Ron Ely sues Santa Barbara cops for shooting his 'unarmed' son dead after he killed his mom

Cameron Ely allegedly fatally stabbed his mother Valerie Lundeen Ely last year in October
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA: 'Tarzan' actor Ron Ely is filing a lawsuit against Santa Barbara sheriff's office over the death of his son and wife at their home in California. Ron's 30-year-old son, Cameron Ely, who allegedly fatally stabbed his 62-year-old mother Valerie Lundeen Ely last year in October, was shot dead by police officers. Authorities, however, have not released any motive in the stabbing case.

Ron Ely, 81, who played the lead role in the 1966 NBC series 'Tarzan', is now suing the city of Santa Barbara and police for the wrongful death of his son and unspecified damages, according to TMZ. 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.

The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department, in its statement, had said that four of its deputies fired 24 rounds at Cameron after he told the officers that he was armed and made motions which suggested that he was drawing a weapon. Cameron was shot dead by police outside his father's home in Hope Ranch, Santa Barbara. Reports state that at least three of the deputies who shot at Cameron have over 12 years of experience each and the fourth has two years of law enforcement experience. 

Ely, however, has said that audio from the night of the incident appears to contradict what police have said about his son, according to The Santa Barbara Independent. 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," the document stated. "Decedent Cameron was unarmed, nonviolent, and acting calmly during the entirety of the short encounter. He did not make any aggressive movements or furtive gestures nor did he utter any threats which would have led a reasonable Sheriff’s deputy to believe that he posed a risk of death or serious bodily injury to anyone," it added.

Cameron and his mother were pronounced dead at the scene. Ely, however, was not injured in the incident but was taken by authorities for an evaluation at a nearby hospital.

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. When officers responded to the scene, they found Cemeron hiding in the grounds and shot him dead around 9:40 pm. Ron and Valerie had been married for 35 years and had three children together, Kirsten, Kaitland and Cameron.