'Tarzan' actor's son unarmed when fatally shot by deputies

Posted at 3:32 PM, Oct 29, 2019

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office says the suspect in a homicide at Hope Ranch earlier this month who was shot and killed by deputies was unarmed.

Deputies responded to the home of "Tarzan" actor Ron Ely the evening of Oct. 15 after a woman, later identified as the actor's wife, Valerie Lundeen Ely, 62, dead from multiple stab wounds.

Deputies reportedly found the suspect, identified as Ely's son, Cameron Ely, 30, outside the home and fired 24 rounds "when he (Cameron Ely) posted a threat."

"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," the sheriff's office said in a press release.

Once they were able to approach the suspect, the sheriff's office says it was at that time they discovered Cameron Ely had faked having a gun and was unarmed.

The four deputies involved in the shooting have been identified as:

  • Sergeant Desiree Thome, who has 12 years, 10 months of service
  • Deputy Special Duty Jeremy Rogers, who has 13 years, 10 months of service
  • Deputy Phillip Farley, who has 13 years, five months of service
  • Deputy John Gruttadaurio, who has two years of service

None of them were injured.

Sheriff's officials have not provided information on a possibly motive for the killing.