Wedding Hall Owner Shot Dead: Political Connection?


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Suffolk County police say the owner of an upscale wedding hall was shot in the head outside of his establishment on Monday.

Victim Gary Melius was reportedly shot by a masked assailant as he was getting into his car. A 9-1-1 call came in from the area at about 12:30 pm saying that shots had been fired. According to Suffolk County Detective Sgt. John O'Sullivan Melius had already been taken to an area hospital by a family member by the time police arrived on the scene.

This shooting is not thought to have been accidental. While no motive for the shooting has been revealed to the public, there is reason to think the attempted murder was political.

Last year, Melius was tangled up in controversy over the arrest of a witness in an election lawsuit, one that resulted in the resignation of former Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale.

The unidentified man, a 29-year-old native of Roosevelt, NY, admitted to being paid by a third party candidate to collect signatures. Melius had been a supporter of the candidate and asked Dale to investigate the witness. This "investigation" turned into Dale ordering his officers to apprehend the witness on an outstanding warrant.

Further investigation by the Nassau County district attorney’s office showed no criminal wrongdoing, but the many questions of ethical behavior on the part of Dale led the law enforcement official to leave office.

Aside from his connection to local political scandal, Melius has made a name for himself through the restoration of the 127-room Oheka Castle. Oheka Castle is an impressive estate that was built to resemble a French chateau. In recent years, it has become a popular location for celebrities to tie the knot.

Prior to Melius’s acquisition of the location, it had been featured as a backdrop in numerous television shows and movies, including Citizen Kane.

Image via Wikimedia Commons