Real estate developer Gary Melius was stepping into his Mercedes shortly before 12:30 p.m. on Monday at Oheka Castle, the sprawling Long Island estate Melius turned into a high-end hotel, when a masked gunman approached and opened fire.
According to police, a family member rushed Melius to Syosset Hospital where he was treated for a gunshot wound to his forehead. He was later transferred to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset for recovery.
Melius was alert and stable on Monday afternoon as Suffolk County Police deployed both police dogs and a helicopter to comb the castle grounds and surrounding area in search of his assailant. As of Tuesday morning the gunman was still on the loose. If the police have a description of the suspect, they are not releasing it.
Employees of the 127-room Oheka Castle were on site Tuesday, but the estate was closed to tours and hotel guests. You might recognize Oheka from Audi and Victoria’s Secret commercials, Citizen Kane, The Great Gatsby Documentary (the castle supposedly inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald) or the 2008 Cameron Diaz/Ashton Kutcher classic What Happens in Vegas.
The property is also a popular wedding venue. (Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin, Kevin Jonas and Danielle Deleasa, Joey Fatone and Kelly Baldwin were all married there.)
Suffolk County police were not aware of a motive on Monday, but the Daily News tracked down a source with a theory.
Melius has engaged in political skirmishes with some of Long Island’s most powerful officials, a high-ranking political source told the Daily News. In recent weeks, Melius spoke with law enforcement authorities investigating political corruption, the source said.
“He said he had evidence of witness tampering and other crimes,” the source said. “He said he had enough to put people in federal prison.”
The Post meanwhile dug up an ominous old quote from Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs: “All evil in Nassau politics goes through Oheka Castle.”
(Reached by the Post on Monday, Jacobs, who has previously called for Melius to be investigated for witness tampering, said, “It’s awful. It’s shocking. Anytime someone of his stature in the community is subject to this kind of violence, it deserves condemnation — no matter what side of the aisle you’re from.”)