A Long Island developer and political powerhouse is recovering after being shot in the head by a masked gunman Monday afternoon in the parking lot of his castle home and investigators have launched a manhunt for the suspect in the targeted shooting, Suffolk County police said Feb. 24.
Detectives believe 69-year-old Gary Melius was climbing into his Mercedes in the valet parking lot of the Oheka Castle, a posh Huntington estate where he lives, when the masked suspect appeared and shot him in the head.
Police said a family member drove him to the hospital, where he underwent surgery after suffering a bullet wound to the forehead. He was alert and conscious before surgery at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset and was chatting with friends, family and politicians later in the day.
“At this point, no suspects have been identified,” Det. Sgt. John O’Sullivan, the commander of the Second Squad detectives, said at a news conference at the scene. “We don’t have a motive at this point.”
O’Sullivan said he was not aware of any recent threats made against Melius or Oheka Castle and said detectives were pouring over surveillance video from the estate in an attempt to identify a suspect. “There were no immediate eyewitnesses.”
Investigators are exploring the possibility that Melius was specifically targeted. “It does not appear to be an accidental shooting,” O’Sullivan added.
In December, Melius was named at the center of political scandal that ultimately led to the resignation of Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale. The Nassau DA’s office released a report about their investigation, which named Melius as contacting Dale to investigate a case of possible witness tampering.
Dale, in turn, directed cops to arrest Randy White, a witness in a civil case connected to the race for Nassau County Executive, Nassau DA Kathleen Rice said. Prosecutors found no criminality in White’s arrest, but Dale resigned the same day the report was released.
Former U.S. Senator Alfonse D’Amato, who is a close friend of Melius, tweeted Tuesday morning that the developer was “in good spirits…resting comfortably and is recovering.”
Police said Melius is listed in stable condition. Their investigation is continuing.