Last year, Cameron Ely, son of TV Tarzan Ron Ely, fatally stabbed his mother. When police arrived, they found the younger Ely outside the family home in Santa Barbara County. Police claim that Cameron told them he had a gun and made a motion as if to draw. They then fired 24 rounds, killing him. No gun was found.
Now, after a lengthy investigation, Santa Barbara District Attorney has ruled that the police were justified in using deadly force against Ely, but his family disputes that.
From the Associated Press:
The attorney for “Tarzan” actor Ron Ely and his family has challenged a Santa Barbara County District Attorney report that the fatal shooting of his son was justifiable.
Attorney John Burris said in a news conference Thursday that Cameron Ely never claimed to have a gun before deputies opened fire in the 2019 confrontation. He said Cameron Ely surrendered with his hands up.
An investigation found that Cameron Ely, 30, stabbed his mother, 62-year-old Valerie Lundeen Ely, to death before he was shot outside his father’s home in Hope Ranch, a suburb of luxury homes outside Santa Barbara.
The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department said the deputies found Ely outside the home. The agency said Cameron Ely told them he had a gun and that he moved his hands as if he were grabbing a weapon.
The deputies fired 24 rounds at Cameron Ely. No weapon was found.
Last week, no charges were filed against the deputies who shot and killed Cameron Ely. The district attorney described the deputies’ actions in the shooting as a justifiable homicide.
But Burris said the deputies “engaged in the unjustified use of deadly force.”
“If he didn’t have a gun or he didn’t have a weapon, what was the basis of shooting him?” Burris said. “They may have very well thought he was involved in some other activity involving the mom. But that’s not a basis to shoot and kill him. You have to have a lawful basis to do that.”
Ron Ely, 81, played the title character on the NBC series “Tarzan,” which ran from 1966 to 1968. He also hosted the Miss America pageant between 1980-81.
The actor was home at the time of the stabbing, but there is no report that he was injured.
From the Santa Barbara Independent:
“As we grieved our mother and brother over the past year, we were unable to pick up the pieces due the intentional deception, ineptitude, and disregard for human life demonstrated by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department and the conspiratorial obstruction of truth and outright lies put into print by the Santa Barbara DA’s Office,” said [Cameron’s sister] Kirsten as she trembled and read from prepared remarks. “The audio recording is conclusive proof that the statement that the DA released saying the shooting was justified is nothing more than a series of lies strung together to protect the deputies from their actions and to conceal the truth of what really happened to Cameron.”