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Gary Melius, Oheka Castle owner, 'recovering well,' daughter says

Gary Melius, owner of the Oheka Castle, is

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

Oheka Castle owner Gary Melius, who survived a gunman's bullet last week, was recovering from eye surgery over the weekend, and laughing and joking, family members said Sunday.

Melius was in his Mercedes-Benz in the parking lot of Oheka, an upscale hotel and catering hall, about 12:30 p.m. Feb. 24 when at least three shots were fired at him, Suffolk County police said. He was struck in the head by one. There have been no arrests.

In a brief interview Sunday at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, Kelly Melius, 46, one of Gary Melius' four children, said: "He's recovering well. He's perfect."

Her father was in "good spirits," she said.

Fabian Santibanez, 26, a son-in-law who also was at North Shore Sunday, said: "He's up. He's laughing. He's making jokes. He's being himself."

Kelly Melius said she didn't know when her father would be released.

The eye surgery Saturday at North Shore was to "address damage done during the attack," Gary Lewi, a friend of Melius and a former spokesman for ex-Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, said Saturday.

Surveillance video from the shooting shows a masked person getting out of a Jeep Cherokee and walking up to Melius' car. The shooter fired through the window, hitting Melius, law enforcement sources said. Authorities think a second vehicle, a black sedan seen on video accompanying the shooter's Jeep, appears to be an Infiniti, law enforcement sources said.

Kelly Melius said the family is "really overwhelmed by the love and support" from a stream of visitors. She said they have included not only friends -- some politically connected -- but also "brides, grooms, hotel guests."

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