The 2019 death of Cameron Ely, the 30-year-old son of the Tarzan actor Ronald Ely, has been ruled as a “justifiable homicide” bu police deputies, who fatally shot him in October of last year after he stabbed his mother, Valerie Ely, to death and tried blaming it on his elderly father.

On October 15, 2019, sheriff deputies entered the Ely Hope Ranch home after a 911 call by Cameron, saying that Ronald had killed his mother. When the deputies arrived, they found Valerie, a Miss Florida 1981, on the ground with multiple stab wounds and already deceased. Court reports state that they spoke to an “elderly gentleman,” who ended up being Ronald himself, who told them that his son was suspected of committing the crime.

The police later found Cameron outside the home covered in blood and still holding the murder weapon. He sat in the driveway with a knife wound on his neck. The court documents recount, “Both deputies saw that Ely had blood on him and believed he was the suspect in Valerie’s murder. Both deputies pointed their gun at Ely. At least one of them illuminated him with the light on his firearm,” the documents continues with, “The deputies yelled multiple times at Ely to get down on the ground and to keep his hands up.” Ely allegedly sprung up and yelled, “I have a gun!” to which the deputies responded with more than 20 fatal gunshots.

No motivation has been given for Cameron’s actions. His father later filed a lawsuit against the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office for his son’s alleged “wrongful death.”


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Court officials found that the deputies “acted reasonably in his/her use of deadly force.”

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