‘Tarzan’ actor Ron Ely sues police for the wrongful death of his wife, son
Officers responded on Oct. 15, 2019, to a 911 call placed by Ron’s son, Cameron, 30, reporting that his mother, Valerie Lundeen Ely, 62, had been attacked by the now-82-year-old television star. However, police later identified Cameron as the suspect who murdered his mother when they arrived at the scene and found her inside the family’s home with multiple stab wounds. Later, Cameron approached police with injuries to his person and allegedly made a threatening gesture, resulting in officers shooting him dead.
However, in court documents obtained by Fox News, Ron claims that his son posed no threat to officers. Furthermore, he alleges that his wife was denied prompt medical treatment that could have saved her life.
Although officers previously claimed that Valerie was dead when they arrived, the lawsuit claims that responding officers failed to dispatch emergency medical responders to the scene despite a report of an attack. When police arrived, the victim was in “obvious” need of medical attention, but officers denied medical personnel access to the scene, the lawsuit alleges. She was pronounced dead 30 minutes after the first units arrived when medics were finally allowed to examine her, the suit claims.
Roughly an hour and a half later, Cameron was seen walking up the driveway toward officers with his hands up, showing signs of injuries and bleeding. Dashboard camera footage of the incident contains audio of an officer instructing him to “keep” his hands up before asking his colleagues for gloves, presumably so he could approach the bleeding suspect.
“Suddenly, and without any warning or legal justification, multiple defendant deputies opened fire on decedent Cameron, striking him a total of 22 times with bullets from several department-issued weapons,” the court documents read.
Ron alleges in his lawsuit that police had no justification for the shooting as his son was unarmed and did not make a threatening gesture, as officers claimed. He further alleges that police once again denied medical personnel access to Cameron for 13 minutes before he too was pronounced dead at the scene. Prior to Cameron being shot, Ron was taken “without the knowledge or consent of his family” to a nearby hospital.
He seeks damages for wrongful death from the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office over the incident.
Ron played the title character on the NBC series “Tarzan,” which ran from 1966 to 1968. He was also featured on “The Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island.” He hosted the Miss America pageant in 1980 and 1981, which is where he met his wife Valerie, a former Miss Florida. Due to a medical condition that affects his speech, the actor, who was 81 at the time of the incident, was unable to communicate what exactly happened in the household prior to his wife’s death.