Police: Tampa man kills cousin testing flak jacket

Evan Lambert reporting

- Police say a Tampa man was fatally shot while testing a fragmentation protective vest, which is commonly referred to as a "flak jacket."

It was Saturday night when officers were called to a home on E. Gordon Street.  When they got to the home, they found Joaquin Mendez outside the house with a gunshot wound to the chest. 

Police say that the victim's 24-year-old cousin, Alexandro Garibaldi, claimed he found Mendez outside with a gunshot wound.  However, another witness told a different story.

According to TPD, the unnamed witness told officers that Mendez sat in a chair and put on the vest, wondering aloud if it would stop a bullet. According to the witness, that's when Garibaldi said, "Let's see," and then shot at the vest worn by Mendez. 

Police later found the vest inside the house -- with a bullet hole. 

Mendez was taken to a hospital, where he later died of his injuries.

Editor's note: Tampa police initially described the vest as a "bulletproof" vest, but have since stated that it was actually a flak jacket. This version of the story has been updated.

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