The Suffolk County Police Department has asked the FBI to assist in its two-year old investigation of Oheka Castle owner Gary Melius’ unsolved shooting, according to Commissioner Tim Sini.
The attempted murder of Melius is the second major open investigation in which Sini has asked the federal agency for help following the arrest of former SCPD chief James Burke. Sini announced in December that the FBI would be assisting in the investigation of the Gilgo Beach killings, which have been unsolved since the discovery of human remains there five years ago.
Sini said involving the FBI in the Melius investigation was part of his “top-to-bottom assessment of the department,” which included scrutinizing all significant open cases.
Though he would not specify what role federal agents would play in the investigation, Sini said they would provide “certain resources and the ability to capitalize on technology that might not be available to a local department.”
An FBI spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment.
Melius, a real estate developer and political power broker known for his close friendships with top politicians and law enforcement officials, survived a masked gunman’s bullet on the grounds of Oheka, the Huntington hotel estate where he lives, on Feb. 24, 2014. The shooting occurred in broad daylight, and surveillance cameras captured two vehicles believed to be involved, yet no arrests have been made.
Melius has advertised a $100,000 reward for information in the shooting and late last year publicly called for the FBI to step in and help solve his case after Burke was indicted on federal charges that he covered up his beating of a detainee.
In an interview Tuesday, Melius said that he had asked the department to work with the FBI for a year, but Burke refused his requests.
“Apparently, I understand he didn’t like the FBI,” Melius said of Burke.
Melius also expressed frustration with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, who he said has ignored his calls for help. Melius provided Newsday with emails dating back to mid-November in which he asked Bellone for a security detail and assistance from the FBI.
“You are aware that someone still wants to murder me, and I have only asked you to help and see that your police department does the right thing by me,” one of Melius’ emails to Bellone states. “I believe that if you were in my position, you would have round the clock security, have brought in the FBI as I asked, it has now been almost 2 years since I was shot.”
Bellone’s spokeswoman declined to comment.
Melius said he could not explain why the investigation into his shooting has been so difficult, blaming “bad luck” and low-quality surveillance cameras.
Sini, confirmed as police commissioner two weeks ago, said he could not comment on what difficulties have been encountered by the department’s investigators. But Sini said that solving Melius’ shooting is a “top priority” for the department.
“It is active and we’re doing everything we can to solve it,” Sini said.