Florida Keys

A firefighter said a man groped his wife at a bar — so he smashed a jar in his face

Lester Young
Lester Young

An Islamorada Fire Rescue Department captain was arrested after police say he smashed a mason jar in another man’s face and then punched him, causing the man to suffer serious head trauma.

Jose Fernando Benitez Diaz, 28, was flown to Jackson Memorial Trauma Center in Miami after Monroe County sheriff’s deputies found him lying motionless on the ground around 1 a.m. Sunday at the Morada Bay Beach Cafe with “blood coming from his mouth, cheeks, eye orbits and forehead,” Deputy Christopher Kilmurray wrote in his report.

Standing a few feet away from Diaz was Lester Robert Young, 33, an eight-year veteran with Islamorada Fire Rescue, who told deputies he “took it too far” when he struck Diaz with the jar and repeatedly with his fists.

Young said Diaz groped his wife and tried to put his hand up her skirt.

“Then she saw him in the parking lot and got upset,” Young told deputies, according to the report. “I lost it and attacked him.”

Kilmurray wrote in his report that Young told him, “I should not have done it.”

Three witnesses said they saw Young run up to Diaz and hit him in the face with a glass. Diaz fell to the ground and Young got on top of him and punched him several times in the face. Diaz’s condition was not immediately known.

When Kilmurray arrived, several Morada Bay security guards were surrounding Young and ordering him to the ground.

Kilmurray, who was working extra duty that night at the mile marker 81.5 restaurant and bar, said he immediately recognized Diaz because he had escorted him out to the parking lot “for causing a disturbance earlier.”

Young was arrested on a charge of felony aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He was released from county jail around 9:30 a.m. Sunday on “petrial release,” with no bond set, said Adam Linhardt, spokesman with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. He was ordered to have no contact with Diaz.

Young joined Islamorada Fire Rescue on Jan. 13, 2007, said Chief Terry Abel. He attained the rank of captain and his annual salary is $72,983.

“He is on administrative leave currently pending the outcome of the investigation,” Abel replied in an email Monday morning.

Video released by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office shows a bar fight between three men, including the victim who was holding his 4-year-old daughter. The incident took place on January 25, 2018, at Crossroads Pizza & Wings Bar in Pine, Colora