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Police: Tampa man killed in attempt to see if bullet-resistant vest worked

TAMPA — A Tampa man faces a manslaughter charge after shooting his cousin in an attempt to see whether a bullet-resistant vest still worked, according to police.

At 10 p.m. Saturday, Joaquin Mendez, 23, tried on the bullet-resistant vest, Tampa police said. He wondered aloud whether it was functional.

"Let's see," replied his cousin Alexandro Garibaldi, who pulled out a gun and shot at the vest, according to police.

Officers responded to 2407 E Gordon St. minutes after the shooting. They said they found Mendez outside, wounded in the chest. Inside, they found blood and the vest, which had a bullet hole.

Garibaldi, 24, told officers he heard a gunshot, then discovered his wounded cousin outside. But police said they heard a different story from a witness.

UPDATE: Tampa man shot by cousin was wearing flak jacket, not a bullet-resistant vest

The witness reported that Mendez sat in a chair and put the vest on, wondering whether it worked, and that Garibaldi took out a gun, said, "Let's see," and shot.

Mendez was taken to a hospital, where he died.

In addition to the manslaughter with a weapon charge, Garibaldi faces a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, police said.

No one answered the door at the home Sunday afternoon, where yellow police tape lay in the front yard. Several neighbors said the residents at the address had moved into the neighborhood within the last couple months.