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Oheka Castle Owner Speaks Publicly For First Time Since Shooting

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Powerful benefactor Gary Melius spoke for the first time Monday since an attempt on his life by a gunman last month.

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Monday, Melius has returned home to Oheka Castle on the Long Island Gold Coast. Bandaged and bruised, he released a privately-recorded video without discussing his injuries, any possible motive, or any suspects.

The 69-year-old developer and major political donor was getting into his Mercedes Benz in the estate’s parking lot when a masked gunman shot him once in the head on Feb. 24.

He was released from the hospital last Tuesday.

In the seven-minute video released Monday, a transparent patch with air holes appeared over Melius’ left eye that was hit by shattered glass, along with stitches, purple bruising, and injuries from the redirected bullet to the side of the head.

“My two young girls took me to the hospital by themselves,” Melius said. “I was pretty lucid all the time.”

Surveillance video showed a black sedan followed by a Jeep Cherokee pulling into a valet area outside of the estate. A masked gunman is seen exiting the Jeep and firing the first shot into the driver’s side window of the Mercedes, striking Melius.

As he fired on Melius, the gunman’s weapon jammed three times, sources who have seen the surveillance video in the case told CBS 2.

“I got a break — whatever that reason, what happened,” he said, “but I guess God looked out for me.”

Police said at least three shots were fired before the shooter and the other vehicle fled the scene.

The gunman and a possible lookout escaped. Melius did not talk about the investigation, and since the video was privately recorded, reporters could not question him.

Melius sounded as though he was still under police protection at the castle.

“I take the garbage out. I do everything I can,” he said, “but it’s tough.”

Detectives have cast a wide net in the case, including Melius’ powerful business and political dealings. But they have provided no motive for the shocking crime.

“Gary’s a tough guy. He’s a real tough guy, so I’m sure he’s going to pull right through,” said Melius family friend Harry Oates. “I feel sorry for the guy who did this.”

Critics and fans alike said the motive is wide open due to some of Melius’ controversial actions. Among their questions — were favors expected from local, state and federal political donations? Was he too cozy with judges or town leaders ruling on possible business dealings involving his ignition interlock company,
Superstorm Sandy debris removal firm, or condo plan on Oheka Castle grounds?

“I saw a lot of friends; that made me break down a little bit, which don’t, like, normally to do,” he said. “I want you to know that I am healing and getting better; looking forward to just starting over again. If you get lucky, you get another chance.”

Melius was also a key figure in a post-election controversy involving Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Dale, triggering events that led to the top cop’s ouster in December.

Melius and his family have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Republican Democratic, and Independence parties, often donating to those in office.

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