The reward for tips leading to the arrest of the assailant who shot and wounded Oheka Castle owner Gary Melius was increased Tuesday to $100,000 on the year anniversary of the shooting.
Suffolk County police previously offered the standard $5,000 reward through their Crime Stoppers program. Melius’ new reward, culled from friends and family, is quadruple the $25,000 that Crime Stoppers is offering for tips in the Long Island Serial Killer probe—an amount that authorities have said was the biggest in county history.
“There’s a $100,000 reward now to get information to solve this crime and bring to justice who is responsible,” Melius said a video statement released to the media. “I have been told by…friends that with conversations and people they know that law enforcement has said it could definitely be a help and that’s why they came forward.”
The 70-year-old prolific political campaign donor—who lives at the 109,000-square-foot French-style chateau in Huntington that he turned into a catering hall, hotel and restaurant—was getting into his car when the masked shooter opened fire at point-blank range, hitting Melius in the head at about 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 24, 2014. The attacker did not say a word.
Melius was on his way to have lunch with former U.S. Sen. Al D’Amato—one of the many powerful attendees at Melius’ Oheka card games—when the bullets started flying. He was taken to North Shore-Long Island Jewish Hospital in Manhasset, where he underwent emergency surgery before returning home a week later.
Police declined to comment Monday on the status of the continuing investigation and authorities have not named any suspects. They have previously declined to discuss whether they believe more than one person was involved or if they have any suspected motives.
Four months after the shooting, investigators released surveillance camera images of the shooter’s getaway vehicle: an older model, Khaki-metal-colored four-door Jeep Grand Cherokee. Although the castle’s security cameras captured images of the SUV, there was no description of the shooter.
Oheka Castle, the former estate of financial tycoon Otto Kahn, has also been host to many high-profile weddings, such as that of the disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner and Hillary Rodham Clinton aide Huma Abedin (which was officiated by former President Bill Clinton), and Kevin Jonas of The Jonas Brothers.
“The detectives assigned to my case have been very comforting to me, informative, give me great confidence that they will find out who do this,” Melius said. “I know that they’re working very hard at it and I know that no resources have been cut from them. They are actively trying to solve this case.”
Suffolk County police ask that anyone with information about this case call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. Melius also set up a hotline for tips in the case, asking tipsters to call 631-912-6969. All calls will be kept confidential.