Son Of ‘Tarzan’ Actor Ron Ely Pretended To Have A Gun But Was Unarmed When Deputies Fatally Shot Him, Authorities Say

Authorities say that Cameron Ely pretended to have a weapon after they responded to the scene and found that his mother had been stabbed to death.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt
Digital Original
Tarzan Actor's Wife, Valerie Ely, Allegedly Stabbed to Death By Son

Weeks after California deputies fatally shot the son of “Tarzan” actor Ron Ely after authorities say he'd killed his mother, officials have revealed that he was not armed at the time of the altercation.

Cameron Ely, 30, was killed on Oct. 15 after the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call at the family’s home, authorities said in a statement released earlier this month. Upon their arrival, deputies found that Ely’s wife, 62-year-old Valerie Lundeen Ely, had been stabbed to death; Cameron was identified as the suspect and was fatally shot because he “posed a threat” to authorities, according to the release.

In an update published this week, the sheriff’s office expanded on the circumstances of the shooting, explaining that the younger Ely told authorities that he was armed and moved as if to draw a weapon, which prompted deputies to respond in kind.

“The suspect told deputies that he had a gun, advanced towards the deputies, and motioned with his hands as if he were drawing a weapon. In response, four deputies fired a total of 24 rounds from their service weapons, fatally wounding the suspect,” their statement reads. “When deputies were able to safely approached Cameron using a ballistic shield, they found that he had feigned being armed and did not have a weapon.”

None of the deputies involved in the shooting were injured during the confrontation with the suspect. The office also released the names of the four deputies involved; three of the four have more than 12 years of experience in law enforcement, while one has been on the job for two years.

Cameron Ely My Space

In accordance with protocol, all deputies involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave, according to Fox News.

Autopsies of both Cameron Ely and his mother are pending, as are criminal and administrative investigations into what happened, authorities said.

Ron Ely, 81, is known most for his starring role in NBC’s “Tarzan” series, which ran from 1966 to 1968. The actor’s son initially tried to pin his mother’s killing on his father, telling a 911 dispatcher that the elder Ely had “tried to attack [his] mother,” according to audio of an emergency call obtained by The Blast.

After arriving at the home, authorities were able to talk to an “elderly gentleman,” likely Ron Ely, who told them that his son was the one who attacked his wife, and that he’d driven away, the outlet reports.

Ron Ely is reportedly unable to communicate clearly at times due to a medical issue, so he was not able to tell deputies what car his son may have been driving, according to PEOPLE.  

Deputies searched the surrounding area, at which point they located Cameron Ely outside of the family home, which is when the shooting occurred, according to authorities.

Ron Ely and Valerie Lundeen Ely, a former flight attendant and pageant queen, got married in 1984, PEOPLE reports. In addition to their son Cameron Ely, they have two older daughters: Kirsten and Kaitland.

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