Suffolk County police released surveillance camera footage showing the moment when Long Island power broker Gary Melius was shot in the head outside of his Huntington home, Oheka Castle, two years ago.
Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said he decided to release part of the video and ask the FBI to take a fresh look at the case after Sini recently took command of the department. He said he hoped that the video would spark tips that could help investigators crack the unsolved case. The footage doesn’t depict Melius being shot.
“This is an individual who was lying in wait and was able to shoot the victim in the face,” Sini told reporters during a news conference at police headquarters in Yaphank on Thursday, the day after the two-year anniversary of the case. “It’s a frightening thing.”
Melius, 71—who lives at the 109,000-square-foot historic chateau that he turned into a catering hall, hotel and restaurant—had just got in his car in the service parking lot when the shooter walked up and shot him through the drivers’s-side window at about 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 24, 2014, police have said.
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. The shooter was only described as wearing dark clothing. The video, which is poor quality, did not capture the suspect’s license plate number.
In the video, the shooter is seen exiting the driver’s seat door of the SUV, partially ducking while walking up to Melius’ car, walking around to the driver’s side and stopping. The shooting itself is obscured from view by the parked cars. Afterward, the shooter is seen walking back, pausing, and then getting back in the SUV.
Sini said detectives witheld a portion of the video in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation and their ability to test the credibility of any witnesses that come forward. He declined to discuss if there are any suspects in the case.
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.
Last year, Melius said that he and his supporters are offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to and arrest in the case. That is 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.
Suffolk County police ask that anyone with information about this shooting 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.