TAMPA, Fla. -- One person is dead after two Tampa cousins tested out a fragmentation protective vest, more commonly known as a "flak jacket," by firing a bullet at the vest while the victim was wearing it.
At around 10:04 p.m. Saturday, Tampa Police found 23-year-old Joaquin Mendez outside of the house, located at 2407 Gordon Street with a gunshot wound to the chest. Inside the house officers found blood and the vest with a single projectile entrance hole.
Alexandro Garibaldi, 24, stated that he heard a gunshot and found Mendez outside with a gunshot wound. However, a witness at the scene described a different scenario.
According to that witness, Mendez sat in a chair vest, and wondered aloud whether it still worked. Garibaldi took out a handgun and said "Let's see." Garibaldi then fired once at Mendez, striking the victim in vest and causing fatal injuries.
This account ran counter to what Garibaldi originally told police. Garibaldi has been charged with manslaughter with a weapon and felon in possession of a firearm.
Mendez was taken to the hospital where he died of his injuries. Mendez and Garibaldi are cousins.