Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

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Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect
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Law enforcement on the scene of Hope Ranch murder investigation on October 15, 2019 (Photo: John Palminteri)

By edhat staff

The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office has released the names of the officers involved in the Hope Ranch shooting of an unarmed murder suspect earlier this month.

At 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday, October 15, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call at the home of actor Ron Ely in Hope Ranch.

Upon arrival, deputies contacted Ron Ely and discovered his wife, Valerie Lundeen Ely, 62, deceased with multiple stab wounds inside the home. While on the scene, deputies identified the murder suspect as their son, 30-year-old Cameron Ely.

Ron Ely and Valerie Lundeen Ely (Photo: Facebook)

Deputies searched the residence and surrounding area for Cameron. During the search, Cameron was located outside the home. According to the Sheriff's Office, he told deputies that he had a gun and advanced towards the deputies, motioning with his hands as if he were drawing a weapon. In response, four deputies fired a total of 24 rounds from their service weapons, fatally wounding the suspect.

When deputies were able to safely approach Cameron using a ballistic shield, they discovered did not have a weapon. None of the deputies were injured during the confrontation with the suspect, reports the Sheriff's Office.

The four deputies involved in the shooting were identified as:

  • Sheriff’s Sergeant Desiree Thome: 12 years, 10 months of service
  • Sheriff’s Deputy Special Duty Jeremy Rogers: 13 years, 10 months of service
  • Sheriff’s Deputy Phillip Farley: 13 years, 5 months of service
  • Sheriff’s Deputy John Gruttadaurio: 2 years of service
Cameron Ely in 2008 (Photo: Facebook)

Ely attended San Marcos High School before transferring to Phillips Exeter Academy, a prestigious boarding school in New Hampshire. He was reportedly an accomplished football player where he played at Harvard. 

From there, he’d go to Harvard where at one point he was a member of the football team. In a Harvard Crimson article in 2007, Ely was described as a player with “a GPA above 4.0, questionable arm strength and supreme intelligence.” He graduated from the Ivy League college in 2012 with a degree in psychology.

Ron Ely played a range of television roles in the 1960s but was best known for "Tarzan," which aired from 1966 to 1968. He also had recurring or guest roles in notable shows such as "The Love Boat," "Wonder Woman," and a revival of "Sea Hunt" in the 1980s. He hosted the Miss America pageant in 1980 and 1981 before retiring from acting in 2001.

In 1984, Ron Ely married former Miss Florida Valerie Lundeen. Together they have three children, Kirsten, Kaitland, and Cameron. 

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 October 15, 2019: Wife and Son Killed in Tarzan Actor's Hope Ranch Home

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Factotum Nov 03, 2019 09:30 PM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

Long dark history of anti-depressant drugs and these types of violent murders of close family members - ever since the early days of Prozac, often when coming off the drug or missing a dose. Remains a big hush, hush in the pharmaceutical industry who makes billions selling them. Cases settled with strict confidentiality agreements.

a-1575630032 Nov 03, 2019 09:36 AM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

It is a complete tragedy that this young man died at the hands of law enforcement, but he was determined to lose his life that day. It seems that many "hate" LE for simply doing their job. Warning shots? 20/20 hindsight? Monday morning quarterbacking? This is not the movies people. This is not a television show. Get real peeps. I would like everyone to think about this: You see a deceased woman stabbed numerous times, an elderly gentleman (Ron Ely) also in need of medical attention (I assume he was also stabbed or assaulted), then you see a young man covered in blood who states and motions that he has a gun. Whattaya do? What you do is give him the 24 rounds and then the bunch of you get to go home to your family. Warning shots......sheesh!

Eminence Threat Nov 03, 2019 07:39 PM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

Spoken like a true professional tax recipient, an expert, the very definition of the pragmatic adult in the room: The final definitive word on all things official. Rule of Law? Due Process? Democratic Process? Any accouterments of a Modern Society? None! Perhaps tires and gasoline are more your style of justice? They are enjoyed in places where both the police forces and the citizenry, are equally unable to understand the broader negative effects of such actions.

a-1575630032 Nov 02, 2019 02:32 PM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

After reading all of the available information, it is my opinion that the cops reacted appropriately. As to the judge/jury/executioner theory, not even close. The only executioner was the young man who jabbed/slashed/stabbed/cut/butchered his own mother and didn't have to spend a moment in jail. For the math "whiz" out there, you can subtract at least $3.75 million from your calculations ($75k per year to house this "gent" for 50 years).

Eminence Threat Nov 03, 2019 06:54 AM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

Spoken like a true professional tax recipient, an expert, the very definition of the pragmatic adult in the room: The final definitive word on all things official. Rule of Law? Due Process? Democratic Process? Any accouterments of a Modern Society? None! Perhaps tires and gasoline are more your style of justice? They are enjoyed in places where both the police forces and the citizenry, are equally unable to understand the broader negative effects of such actions.

Lina24 Oct 31, 2019 05:21 PM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

This is such a terrible tragedy for all involved, including the Police Officers. This young man had so much promise, and by all accounts, came from a loving, supportive family. I hope they give him an autopsy to find out what caused his drastic change in personality after College. I suspect he suffered from CTE. If so, maybe this tragedy will lead to increasing much needed research on the condition. We really need to find a way to diagnose it early on, before more lives are destroyed by it. ... maybe even consider making changes in the way Football is played, too, or at least in helmet construction.

Eminence Threat Nov 03, 2019 06:56 AM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

"Whiz" all over this math, but the fire wont go out .. ( https://www.usccr.gov/pubs/2018/11-15-Police-Force.pdf ) .. ( https://www.chicagoreporter.com/chicago-spent-more-than-113-million-on-police-misconduct-lawsuits-in-2018/ ) .. ( https://towardsdatascience.com/us-police-killings-what-the-data-tells-us-563f8b052452 ) .. ( http://forcedetroit.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Detroit-Cost-Per-Shooting-breakdowns.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0Sq3I46fUJMySUaq4IEBqHB3t03bgv8fJjIvgH3w8Eb31CkF2qBwhbfPY ) .. ( https://www.usccr.gov/pubs/2018/11-15-Police-Force.pdf )

Eminence Threat Nov 03, 2019 06:54 AM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

After reading all of the available information (it is not possible to read all of anything, ever), (based upon my opinion) it is my opinion that the cops reacted appropriately. As to the judge/jury/executioner theory, not even close. (Who better to clear up such nonsense than you?..Except that, an executioner is an employee of the state, paid by the state exchequer, to impose capital punishment at the will of the state. It's a vocab thing.) The only executioner was the young man who jabbed/slashed/stabbed/cut/butchered his own mother (a murderer is a not an employee of the state, not paid by the state exchequer. Again, its a vocab thing.) and didn't have to spend a moment in jail. (Gosh, that tricky lil' guy sure duped those highly trained and experienced, professionals with 42 combined years in the "industry".) For the math "whiz" out there, you can subtract at least $3.75 million from your calculations ($75k per year to house this "gent" for 50 years)-----Math "Whiz" Here----- I'll see your (3.75 million dollars) and raise you (1 Davd Attias). I just saved you almost 3 million dollars. Thank me later.

Concerned4Calif Oct 30, 2019 11:10 PM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

Innocent until proven guilty by a jury of peers. Not judge, jury and executioners. I get these moments can be tense but its far too clear the motto of police is to shoot to kill first and then ask questions. If they are so terrified then just get another job and don't live in fear. It will be better for all of us.

Eminence Threat Oct 31, 2019 09:13 AM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

Agreed... The total cost of these four cops is (42 yrs 1 mo X 150,000 yr), or 6,300,000 dollars. Add to that, the cost of an average wrongful death settlement, the cost of litigation, the cost of administration and the misdirection of county resources during the process, and you will have the total "Value" of these "Public Servants". So,, could say that, " 42 years of combined experience, produced four frantic panicked shooters, who were so terribly afeared for their lives, that they fired repeatedly into a single target twenty feet away. Their "Bravery" is fiercely defended by the very population that sends its own young sons and daughters to "FAR AWAY WAR ZONES", where they can "ONLY" shoot unless shot at, regardless of the despicable atrocities they may encounter along the way. One look at the difference in pay can sicken most, but the total cost on the public is the real crime.

Flicka Oct 30, 2019 04:19 PM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

Oh, great idea to wait until "seeing the gun first." They "THOUGHT he had a gun?" Maybe firing back after he shoots one of the officers? They didn't just "think" he had a gun, he said he did. The guy said he had a gun and acted as to pull it out. After seeing what the son did to his mother why would they not think he'd likely shoot them? "Shooting over his head" would have given him time to shoot them if in fact he had the gun he professed to have. Why wouldn't they believe him?

Eminence Threat Oct 30, 2019 05:36 PM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

Start here, ....( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rules_of_engagement ).... The bravest are clearly paid in Valor and Honor ... [The average U.S. Marine Corps salary ranges from approximately $24,385 per year for Ammunition Specialist to $96,908 per year for Sergeant Major. The average U.S. Marine Corps monthly salary ranges from approximately $1,543 per month for Intelligence Specialist to $2,400 per month for Combat Engineer.] ... and it seems, 150,000 a year cannot afford either.

Eminence Threat Oct 30, 2019 03:37 PM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

Not one cop said, " Gosh, I wasn't really afeared for my life at all. In fact, I was shocked that my esteemed colleagues unloaded so many rounds into a guy holding a kitchen utensil ". Once the family of the rich movie star guy sues, they will all be singing this tune.

Eminence Threat Oct 30, 2019 03:34 PM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

craigslist: anywhere: jobs: government: Santa Barbara Sheriff Department: Combat Veteran preferred :... 150,000 annually :....Job Entails :.... ( Nicely removing bums from freeway campsites and other scenic areas, riding bicycles around the beach and downtown, smiling for YouTube videos, helping old rich people find their car or house, issuing one way street citations to tourists and generally lounging about the beach :.... Job may occasionally require : clearing wreckage from the 'Chumash Highway of Death', or "non-lethally" beating up 'Malfunctioning Movie Star Spawn' carrying hand tools.) ... COMPARE IT TO TAKING FIRE IN AFGHANISTAN ..... [As of Jun 27, 2018... enlisted active duty SEAL's salaries start at $2,089 a month for a Petty Officer Third Class (E-4) with less than two years service at that grade and rise to $7,845 a month for a Master Chief Petty Office (E-9) with 40 years total service.] ... Save money annually. Save money in administrative fees. Save money on lawsuits from millionaires. Win Win.

a-1575630032 Oct 30, 2019 12:55 PM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

We can train officers to wait until the suspect starts shooting at them too, but does that make sense?? Seconds count when the suspect reaches for what you believe to be a weapon, gun or knife, especially if said suspect makes an advance towards an officer(s). Please use some common sense when trying to apply what you think you know and not having been in the same situation.

SantaBarbaraObserver Oct 30, 2019 12:36 PM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

I wasnt there and dont pretend to know the actual happenings of the scene, but this sure does seems like a lot of bullets fired for a single, unarmed person. So it would appear that the cops overreacted. I suggest these 150k a year warriors take a look at how the police in the UK deal with knife wielding suspects - they do it without deadly force or an absurd amount of bullets fired in an obvious panic. 30 years of teaching "Peace Officers" how to escalate a situation into violence and act as if they're always in mortal danger has not fared well for society or the police themselves. How about they take some basic courses in de-escalation tactics instead of spending 1000's of hours shooting their service weapons? After all, to a man with a hammer, everything is a nail... And these guys are walking, talking hammers.

Factotum Oct 30, 2019 01:31 PM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

Four people shooting 6 bullets to take down a raging bull who just slaughtered his own mother? Sounds about right to me. Never will know which one fired the fatal shot and what is reasonable during a fast moving threat like this guy posed our trained officers. I am just glad no stray bullets ricocheted and hit one of our own LE members.

Lina24 Oct 31, 2019 04:50 PM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

Coolio, I heard some rumors here and there about drug abuse, etc., on other sites, but I think his drastic change in personality after college may very well have stemmed from football injuries. He may have suffered from CTE, Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which causes personality changes, rages, etc., from the repeated head injuries usually obtained while playing the sport.

a-1575630032 Oct 30, 2019 06:31 AM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

When this story first broke my first thought was wow, they shot him dead? It seemed excessive then considering he stabbed his mom and there was no indication of a gun present. This release confirms it - overkill by the cops. 24 bullets is a firing squad. Someone needs to pay, sorry. Doesn't matter if the perp committed a murder, that is not a license to kill him unecessarily. We are not the Middle East.

midair Oct 29, 2019 08:57 PM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

No one gives "warning shots", that's all Hollywood. However my gut feeling tells me that the police story is not true. Four cops with adrenaline pumping, one shoots so they all shoot. And of course they will be the investigating body so the conclusion is already written.

millimesa Oct 29, 2019 06:37 PM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

If he did kill his mother, he probably couldn't live with it so of course he said and acted he was armed. But seeing the mom stabbed and maybe the only mention of a gun being present from the suspect when confronted, 24 shots seems excess.

a-1575630032 Oct 29, 2019 04:50 PM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

There was all the discussion on Edhat about the "21-foot rule." However, that rule, the distance/reaction time only applies when officers' guns are holstered. These officers had guns drawn and were facing a man who MIGHT have been armed? What it all comes down to is a man who was obviously in a high state of distress and far from thinking clearly. He was confronted by four armed law enforcement officers. The officers thought the man was armed. The officers were all trained for just such a confrontation. The fact that they shot him 24 times is what gets me. Think about it for a second. Six shots from each officer or only four from one and 8 shots from another and so on? It is overkill in every sense of the word.

comment1 Oct 30, 2019 09:46 AM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

You are right about the young man being in a high state of distress and not thinking clearly. It seems the police were also in a high state of distress and not thinking clearly. The police definitely should have fired a warning shot above his head. The shock of the young man hearing a shot might just have brought him to his senses that he had better obey. But, alas, no one was thinking clearly here. Now THAT IS tragic.

oceandrew Oct 30, 2019 11:05 AM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

420722... so now "thinking he has a gun" is grounds to shoot someone? Whatever happened to seeing a gun first? If I was to think you had committed a murder (someone said so) would I be justified in shooting you on the spot? So much for due process. Bad enough that officers can mistake a cellphone for gun but "to fear for one's life" because of the movement of one's hands is a pathetic abuse of power. I'd say you like so many officers down south and now here too just like any excuse to put all your gun range training into practise against a living live target.

Roger Oct 30, 2019 09:50 AM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

4 Cops shot 24 times that is aprox. 6 each at a male suspect 6'6 acting as if he has a gun and is going to shoot at you...You do not know what you would do unless you experienced it first hand, many police officers unload out of fear when facing someone with a gun who is pointing it at them it's a natural response.

Lina24 Oct 31, 2019 04:56 PM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

If a guy is willing to stab his mother multiple times, it's hard to give him the benefit of the doubt and think that he's just kidding when he says he has a gun and pretends to reach for it. They're not only protecting themselves, they were protecting each other.

a-1575630032 Oct 30, 2019 11:12 AM
Officers Identified in Shooting of Unarmed Hope Ranch Murder Suspect

What kind of "motioning" is so scary that not one but four officers would fear for their lives before being sure that they were in actual fact in any danger? Sounds like southern States aren't the only place that hire such scaredy cats for law enforcement.

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