Cameron Ely was Valerie Lundeen and Ron Ely’s son. Cameron, 30, is suspected of stabbing his mother to death before being shot dead by sheriff’s deputies on October 15 in her home, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff spokesperson Raquel Zick confirmed to Heavy. Ron Ely, the famed “Tarzan” actor, was unharmed during the attack.
The horrific incident occurred at Cameron Ely’s parents’ home at Hope Ranch, an incorporated area in Santa Barbara County, California. The county sheriff’s office says that officers were called to the scene after receiving a report of a “family disturbance” at 8:15 p.m. When sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene, they found that Valerie Lundeen, 63, had been stabbed to death. Ron Ely, 81, was also found in the home, unharmed.
Authorities issued a warning to neighbors requesting that they stay indoors while officers searched for the suspect. The suspect, Cameron Ely, was found hiding in his parents’ property. After a standoff with officers, Cameron was shot dead at 9:40 p.m.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cameron Ely Tried to Blame the Stabbing on his Father, Ron Ely
Cameron tried to blame his mother’s stabbing on his father, that’s according to 911 audio obtained by TMZ. On that audio, the dispatcher can be heard telling responding officers, “They say the father tried to attack the mother… Someone defended someone and then they hung up. The male was out of breath, unintelligible and crying.”
A responding officer at the scene said that he encountered an elderly man who could not speak clearly due to a medical condition. The man tried to communicate to officers that he felt that Cameron Ely had driven away from the scene.
The autopsies for Cameron Ely and Valerie Lundeen are pending.
2. Cameron Ely Played Quarterback for Harvard University
According to Cameron Ely’s Harvard profile, he joined the school as a quarterback in 2007. Ely attended high school at the Philips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. In 2014, Business Insider called the Phillips Exeter Academy the “best boarding school in America.”
A Harvard Crimson article from May 2007 on Ely said he “sports the conventional Harvard-recruited stats: a GPA above 4.0, questionable arm strength and supreme intelligence to go along with his ability to make “good decisions.”
In 2009, it was reported that Ely was contemplating switching Harvard for Texas A&M, although the transfer never took place.
3. Ely Said Only ‘a Pretty Girl’ Could Draw Him Away From His Family
In a 2012 interview with Fanboy Planet, Ely was accompanied by his son, Cameron. At one point, Cameron wandered away from his father which led his father to say, “Must have been [drawn away by] a pretty girl, because that’s the only thing that could draw him away.” Ely said in the same interview, “I am fully committed to my wife and my children. That’s why I stepped out of the business because I wanted to spend more time to raise my kids.”
Ely has written two novels, “Night Shadows,” published in 1994, and “East Beach,” published in 1995. In a 2012 interview with Fanboy Planet, Ely said that part of the reason he didn’t write anymore was due to his commitment to his family. When asked why there were no more novels forthcoming, Ely said, “That’s a tough question to answer because there’s not a lot that I do that’s not family-oriented. I am fully committed to my wife and my children. That’s why I stepped out of the business because I wanted to spend more time to raise my kids.”
Ely elaborated on that in a later interview with the Daily Express where he said, “Late in life I had a young family. I decided to stop acting and work at home, as an author, that way I could be with the kids all through school and be able to attend their sports games and things.” Ely said in a 2013 interview that thanks for his retirement, he was able to coach all of his kids’ sports teams.
4. Cameron Ely’s Godfather Was Western Actor Fess Parker
According to a MySpace post, Cameron’s godfather was famed Western actor Fess Parker. Ron Ely was one of the speakers at Parker’s 2010 funeral. In his speech, Ely said that Parker was not a typical Hollywood star. Ely said, “Fess liked people. He loved actors and the motion picture business, and even liked agents.”
Fess is remembered for playing Davey Crockett in the ABC miniseries of the same name. In his later career, Parker became a well-known winery and resort operator.
5. Cameron Ely Represented a Threat to Officers, Which Is Why Deputies Opened Fire, the Sheriff’s Office Says
When Cameron Ely was located by officers on the property, the sheriff’s department said that the suspect “presented a threat.” TMZ was the first to report that Cameron’s father had told officers that his son had been somehow involved in the incident.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office public information officer, Lieutenant Erik Raney, told KEYT-TV in Santa Barbara that no officers were hurt and that there were multiple deputies involved in the shooting. Raney said, “We don’t know exactly how many shots were fired. We did have several deputies that were involved in the shooting. Fortunately, all of our deputies are OK.” As per protocol, the deputies involved in the shooting will be placed on leave while an investigation is carried out.