Oheka Castle owner Gary Melius praised his family in a video released Monday, thanked his friends and credited God with letting him survive a gunshot to the head. But he said nothing about the shooter or the attack that nearly killed him.
Melius, 69, a well-known political donor and developer, said in the video that he broke down when relatives and friends gathered at his Manhasset hospital bed after the Feb. 24 shooting and said he was "looking forward to just starting over again."
His statements on the video, which is just over seven minutes long, were his first made public since the shooting and contained nothing about the afternoon attack in the parking lot of the sprawling estate he purchased in 1984. He issued a statement after his March 4 release from North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, but has declined requests for comment on the shooting.
"I have a lot to say," Melius says at the beginning of the clip, which was produced by a Hauppauge-based film production company. "But I'm not going to say much."
In the video, Melius appears stoic and reflective but anxious to get his business back on track.
At times, a male voice is heard asking questions in the background and, at other times, questions over a black screen replace Melius' image before he appears again to answer.
"I was pretty lucid all the time," Melius said in response to a question written on the screen asking what it was like in the hospital.
Asked if it was "an emotional moment" having friends and family see him after the shooting, he said: "It made me break down a little bit, which I don't normally like to do, but I did . . . "
He tells the camera that he made the video mainly to let his friends know how he is doing.
"I just want everybody to know, mainly just for my friends to know, everything is OK," Melius said, casting his eyes down. "I haven't had a chance to talk, talk to them."
Police have not disclosed a motive or made an arrest in the shooting. Melius was the intended target, investigators said.
He was in his Mercedes-Benz when the shooter put a gun to one of the car's windows and fired, Suffolk County police said. Detectives said Melius was hit one time. Surveillance footage appears to show the suspect making another attempt to fire the weapon at a wounded Melius as he stumbled from his car, law enforcement sources said. The gun jammed, sources said.
Of his surviving and of the support he received from those close to him, from friends, family, business associates, doctors, nurses, other hospital staff and police investigators: "There's just nothing I could say . . . It's just disingenuous to make this a monumental thing. It's just so big," Melius says. "There's no way for me to put it in words. It's just great, everybody is great. I got a break. Whatever the reason, what happened. But I guess God looked out for me, he's always looked out for me."