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Florida man fatally shot after asking cousin if outdated flak jacket still worked

September 13, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Florida man fatally shot after asking cousin if outdated flak jacket still worked

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A 23-year-old man from Florida, who was asking whether the flak vest that he was sporting “still worked,” was fatally shot and killed by his cousin.

Joaquin Mendez, the victim, had talked to his cousin, Alexandro Garibaldi, about the protective, but not bullet proof jacket, at a home in Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

According to police, 24-year-old Garibaldi pulled out a firearm and replied, “Let’s see.”

Officers who were dispatched to the residence found Mendez outside, bleeding from a bullet wound to his chest. He was transported to a nearby hospital where he later died.

Detectives discovered the bullet-holed flak vest, which is the general term for the fragmentation protective vests that were often worn by soldiers during World War II along with the Korean and Vietnam wars. Law enforcement officials had initially announced that Mendez was wearing a vest that was bulletproof.

The outdated body armor guarded against fragments of high-explosive weapons, such as grenades. Steve Hagerty, a spokesperson for the police department, said that bullets typically penetrate most flak jackets.

Garibaldi originally told police that he heard a gunshot and discovered his cousin injured outside. However, an eyewitness reported that Garibaldi had fatally shot his cousin after Mendez sat on a chair, put on the vest and asked “whether it still worked,” according to police.

Inmate records indicate that Garibaldi is being held in Hillsborough County jail on a $20,000 bond, and is facing charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm along with manslaughter with a weapon.

“I think it’s very crazy to play with a life like that. Especially, if, you know, you want to try the vest out, at least do it professionally or shoot it at the ground or something.” Dameion Murphy, a community member, told WTVT-TV “It’s not logical. It’s very irrational.”

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