Gary Melius Speaks Exclusively To 1010 WINS, Sits Down With CBS2


HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The victim of an assassination attempt on Long Island spoke out Tuesday, a year after he was shot in front of the historic mansion he owns.

The historic Oheka Castle in Huntington is brimming with stories that would fill any bride’s fantasies.

But the owner of the mansion, Gary Melius, lived through a much darker experience there. On Feb. 24 of last year, a masked gunman drove up to the renowned catering hall and opened fire.

The 70-year-old developer and major political donor was getting into his Mercedes Benz in the estate’s parking lot when the gunman fired a shot into his driver’s side window.

As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, Melius had raised the stakes for solving the crime a year after he was wounded.

“There is a reward for $100,000 leading to the arrest and conviction,” Melius said.

The huge reward and a tip line were funded by friends of the Long Island power-broker who restored Oheka Castle as a catering venue.

“They wanted to help some way and felt, you know, really helpless,” Melius said.

At the palatial residence Tuesday, Melius told Gusoff he has not lost faith in police, but hopes for new leads.

“I feel good we’re going to catch him, and hopefully, he’ll get what’s coming to him,” Melius said.

Melius was shot in the head in the attack last year. The kickback from the shot caused the gun to malfunction and likely saved his life, 1010 WINS News Director Ben Mevorach reported. Melius was hospitalized for more than week.

In an exclusive interview Tuesday with WINS, Melius said he is doing “fine” physically and addresses questions about the shooting and the investigation.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW

One person of interest early on in the investigation was his son, Thomas Melius — a young man with a troubled past.

“First place they look is my family… so it was a tough thing to get used to,” Melius said.

“Did you ever directly ask your son if he had any involvement?” Mevorach asked.

“Yeah, I asked him, I asked him very strong and there’s nothing,” Melius said. “I cooperated with the police in looking at him, whatever they wanted, but there’s nothing.”

Oheka Castle owner Gary Melius (right) with his son, Thomas. (Credit: Melius Family)

Oheka Castle owner Gary Melius (right) with his son, Thomas. (Credit: Melius Family)

So who does Melius think wanted him dead? He named political foes, and suspects the shooter was a paid hit man, but admitted it is still a mystery.

“Are you any closer today, Gary, to knowing who did this to you?” Gusoff asked.

“I not only don’t know — I can’t think of why anybody who would kill me,” Melius said.

The shooting was characterized by police as an assassination attempt but a year later, the case indeed appears to have gone cold, prompting friends and family to up the $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter.

“Some would ask, why not have that reward out there two weeks after or a month after?” Mevorach asked.

“You know, I wasn’t really in favor of doing this, felt the police do their job like everybody else,” Melius said.

Melius said he has recovered from his injuries. What is permanently damaged is his reputation, after what he called a character assassination in the press that hurt more than the shooting.

“I don’t know if you ever can ever get your reputation back,” Melius said. “It leaves me under a cloud that, ‘Why did this guy get shot?’”

Police have had little to go on in the case, though they have been searching for the suspect’s alleged getaway vehicle — a Jeep Cherokee spotted driving away from the scene.

On Tuesday, Melius released a video to the media announcing the reward and thanking the Suffolk County Police Department for its work.

Melius has changed his security procedures since the incident, but doesn’t give the shooting a second thought.

“I have never thought five minutes about it, I have not had five minutes of fear,” Melius said.

Suffolk County police would not comment on the status of the investigation Tuesday, but they did say there is no harm in Melius having his own tip line. They said they will have an investigator with intricate knowledge of the case handling the calls.

The tip line can be reached at (631) 912-6969.

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