Sources: Scores of investigators look into Gary Melius shooting

Gary Melius, owner of the Oheka Castle, is Gary Melius, owner of the Oheka Castle, is shown in Huntington. Photo Credit: Joe Rogate

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Nearly three weeks have passed since Oheka Castle owner Gary Melius was shot on his estate by a mysterious masked assailant.

While Suffolk County police have made no public statements since the day after the Feb. 24 shooting, law enforcement sources said that scores of detectives from at least three Suffolk police sections -- the Criminal Intelligence Unit, Pattern Crimes Unit and Second Squad detectives -- and members of the Suffolk district attorney's office are involved in the investigation.

These investigators, who have preliminarily classified the shooting as a first-degree assault, are looking at Melius' business dealings and associations in an effort to find the shooter, the sources said.

Melius, 69, a well-known political donor and developer, was wounded in a daytime attack outside Oheka's main building in Huntington. He was in his Mercedes-Benz about 12:30 p.m. when the shooter put a gun to one of the car's windows and fired several times, Suffolk police said.

Detectives said Melius was hit once. Surveillance footage appears to show two vehicles may have been involved in the attack, law enforcement sources said.

The video shows what appears to be a black Infiniti pulling into the valet area, followed by a taupe Jeep that carries the shooter, sources said, leading investigators to believe that whoever was in the black car was a lookout.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Sources said the video shows that after the suspect shot Melius with a heavy-caliber semiautomatic, the shooter returned to the Jeep but got out after noticing that Melius had stumbled out of his car and headed toward the castle's employee entrance. The attacker then tried and failed to fire at least three more times, sources said.

In the days after the shooting, police set up a Jericho Turnpike checkpoint, stopping motorists to ask whether they saw anything unusual the day before and around the time of the shooting. In addition, sources said that police are scouring a state registration database to try to find the vehicles, and a Nassau police official said images from a red-light camera farther west on Jericho Turnpike were being reviewed.

Suffolk police said last week that they will not release the video, and referred to the blanket response they are giving to all press inquiries: "Since this crime is an active ongoing investigation, the Suffolk County Police Department will not be making further comments at this time until unless we have some additional information pertaining to the investigation that serves the investigation by its release."

Melius was discharged from North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset on March 4 and has returned to Oheka.

He has not agreed to press interviews, but put out a video last week that lasted a little more than seven minutes. The video contained nothing about the afternoon attack in the parking lot of the sprawling estate he purchased in 1984.

"I have a lot to say," Melius said at the beginning of his video, which was produced by a Hauppauge-based film production company. "But I'm not going to say much."

The best of Newsday everyday in your inbox. Get the Newsday Now newsletter!

You also may be interested in: