It’s always Florida Man, isn’t it?

Police say a Florida man asking if a bulletproof vest “still worked” was fatally shot by his cousin.

A Tampa police report says Joaquin Mendez, 23, put on the vest late Saturday and “wondered aloud whether it still worked.”

Police say his cousin, Alexandro Garibaldi, 24, pulled out a gun and responded, “Let’s see.”

Officers found Mendez outside the house with a gunshot wound in his chest. Mendez died at a hospital.

According to the report, Garibaldi initially told officers he found his wounded cousin after hearing a gunshot. However, police say a witness described Garibaldi shooting Mendez.

Police say the vest was found inside the house with a gunshot.

Garibaldi was held Sunday without bond on a manslaughter charge. Hillsborough County jail records didn’t show whether he had an attorney.


We don’t yet know whether:

  • Garibali fired at his cousin and missed the vest
  • Garibaldi fired a higher caliber firearm than the vest was designed to contain
  • the “vest” was actually body armor, or if it was just load-bearing vest
  • the vest was a armor carrier, if it actually had an armor panel inside it (they are removeable for washing)
  • there was armor in the vest, and if so, was it ever rated for bullets, or if was an obsolete “flak jacket,” designed for shrapnel.
  • the vest had expired (soft armor does have a service life)

And perhaps most tellingly, we don’t know if Mendez was dumb enough to go along with this idea, or if Garibadi fired without warning.

No matter how you slice it, the stupidity is as thick as south Florida air is humid over the Everglades.

You want to test armor? Put it downrange without a person inside it and then open fire.