Key West man arrested after girlfriend starts bar fight, deputies say

Woman sparked brawl over alleged crotch-grabbing incident, officials say

By Tim Swift - Digital Editor

Dustin Messenger damaged a door at the Purple Porpoise Pub during a bar fight, deputies said.

BIG COPPITT KEY, Fla. - A Key West man was arrested Tuesday in connection with a bar brawl, which started when his jealous girlfriend attacked another woman, authorities said.

Dustin Ray Messenger, 36, faces a charge of damaging property.

Messenger’s girlfriend, 42-year-old Sally Amato, smashed a beer bottle over the victim’s head because she believed the woman had grabbed Messenger’s crotch while the three were drinking inside the Purple Porpoise Pub on Jan. 5, said Adam Linhardt, a spokesman for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

Meanwhile, Messenger started fighting with an unnamed man, causing the bartender to remove Messenger from the bar, Linhardt said. The bartender locked the door to keep him out, but Messenger punched and kicked the door off its hinges, Linhardt said. Deputies said the door cost about $1,200.

Paramedics transported Amato to Lower Keys Medical Center because she injured her hand in the fight. Deputies went to the hospital to arrest Amato, but when they arrived she had been airlifted to a Miami hospital for treatment of her injury, Linhardt said.

A warrant has been issued for Amato’s arrest, but she remains at large.

Anyone with information about Amato’s whereabouts is asked to contact Monroe County detectives at 305-292-7060 or Crime Stoppers of Miami-Dade and the Florida Keys at 305-471-TIPS.

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