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Santa Barbara Co. DA says deadly officer-involved shooting in Hope Ranch was justifiable

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Posted at 4:59 PM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 19:59:36-04

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office has determined a deadly officer-involved shooting last year in Hope Ranch was justified.

Cameron Pierce Ely, 30, was killed in the shooting.

According to the District Attorney's public report, on the night of Oct. 15, 2019, Ely called 911 and told the dispatcher that his mother had tried to attack his father and that he had "defended him."

When authorities arrived at the home on Mariposa Drive, they reportedly found Valerie Ely, 62, dead of multiple stab wounds. Her husband, Ron Ely, 81, was also at the scene but Cameron Ely had apparently left the house.

Ron Ely, an actor who portrayed Tarzan in the 1960s TV series, had previously suffered a stroke and was confined to a wheelchair. According to the report, he had trouble speaking but was eventually able to communicate to deputies on scene that his son was responsible for the stabbing and had left the house.

The report states that deputies searching the property encountered Cameron Ely in a dark driveway along the side of the house. They stated he appeared to have blood on him.

According to the report, the deputies told Ely to get on the ground and while he seemed to comply at first, he suddenly jumped up and yelled that he had a gun while reaching toward his waist.

Four deputies fired their weapons at Ely, striking him 22 times. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The report concludes that because of Ely's actions, it was reasonable for the deputies to fear their lives were in danger, and therefore, the shooting was justifiable.

While the report does not reveal a motive for Cameron Ely's actions that night, family members reportedly told authorities they believed he had mental health issues related to football injuries and that his behavior had been increasingly concerning in the preceding days.

To read the full report from the District Attorney's Office, click here.