Tampa Man Asks Cousin If Bulletproof Vest Works . . . Cousin Finds Out By Shooting and Killing Man

c1ccca09-a904-46c2-bc8d-08a6ea4030e1-1473695644-2168Joaquin Mendez, 23, has a cousin who is lethally literal. Alexandro Garibaldi, 24, (left) was with Mendez when his cousin asked whether a bulletproof vest he had put on “still worked.” Garibaldi allegedly responded by saying “Let’s see” and shooting his cousin who died from the fatal wounds.

Police however found Mendez outside without the bulletproof vest. Garibaldi claimed that he found his cousin with the wounds, but a witness implicated Garibaldi. The vest was found inside of the house.

Garibaldi is facing a manslaughter charge. He is likely to raise a novel defense that he lacked intent because he assumed that the vest would stop a bullet.

Obviously Garibaldi can also be sued for assault, battery and wrongful death. However, the more interesting question is whether the Mendez estate could sue the manufacturer of the vest for a product defect, including possible design, manufacturing or warning defects. The presumption of Garibaldi was clearly that the vest could stop a bullet. Regardless of his commission of manslaughter, the family could argue that the ordinary consumer would expect that the vest would work against a handgun. There might also be a failure to properly warn that a close shot might penetrate the vest.

img_0398_1473714052921_6004064_ver1-0However, some reports indicate that it was not a bulletproof vest but a flak jacket. The flak jacket are “bullet resistant” a distinction that might be lost on many consumers like waterproof and water resistant distinctions for watches. The question is whether there is warning on the jacket itself.

There are also a surprising 5 year warranty on such vests. I would have assumed a much longer warranty on such items.

12 thoughts on “Tampa Man Asks Cousin If Bulletproof Vest Works . . . Cousin Finds Out By Shooting and Killing Man”

  1. “You know, girls just don’t typically do this. Is it testosterone poisoning?”…
    No, it is lead poisoning.

  2. A couple of matters first:

    Every vest I have used or reviewed does have a five year warranty. Vests do wear over time due to wear, perspiration, and such. It’s not as if they will fall apart after five years, and likely will go longer, especially if only lightly used. But, they need to have an expiry at some point and they do wear out with time.

    Second, there are differing levels of protection for the vests. Here is a primer (scroll down for threat levels)


    Nobody wears Level I and the higher the threat level, the stiffer, bulkier, and hotter they become. Most guys I know wore Level II or IIA, but some of us preferred IIIA because it was better to sweat than bleed. The vests are nice in winters, but in the summer you could pull the top of the front panel outward and literally feel the heat come out and flow around your neck and jaw. The panels do not breathe very well so after work you are left with a soaked undershirt. This is one of the factors that can stress a vest over time. A company came out with a type of undershirt that wicks the heat away much better, but I never tested it.

    Plus, vests are not advertised as “bullet proof” they are instead called body armor or “ballistic vests”.

    If these two fools wanted to test the vest, they should instead have wrapped a ten pound wedge of ham with the vest then shot it. But stupid is as stupid does.

    1. Darren – you have to watch Reno 911! do ballistic vest testing. It never goes well. 🙂

  3. Garibaldi has to live with this forever, regardless of what his actual sentencing may be. He’s splintered his family forever. But the lethal mistake was made by both of him, if his story is true.

    Aren’t flak jackets what pilots used to wear to protect them from shrapnel? Did he miss the vest entirely and hit him in the head or under the armpit? Did he lie about the vest being on at all? Did he hit the vest but it failed?

    One would think that he would know that you do not risk what you cannot afford to lose. If you want to see if the vest works, then you put it on a watermelon and fire away on an outdoor range. Then they could have had all the fun they wanted.

    You know, girls just don’t typically do this. Is it testosterone poisoning?

  4. I think it is a product liability case. The deceased assumed the risk by putting on the vest. The vest did not work as advertised.

  5. Are consent and assumption of the risk tort defenses in Florida?

    If that’s Garibaldi’s booking photo, he’s got a serious Clint Eastwood complex.

  6. This guy, like the woman who disturbed the funeral, has a brain disorder. It may be genetic. It could be the result of alcohol or drugs interfering with brain development. It could be lead from old water pipes. It could be epigenetics reflecting the overwhelming stress of generations poverty and desperation. Whatever caused it, we don’t know how to fix it. We know how to imprison and punish those so afflicted, but not how to fix it. The best fixes we have are preventative – easily available birth control and abortion, and stop giving and selling weapons to every Tom, Dick, and Mohammed around the world.. Until we come up with something better, we need to take those steps.

  7. Put the vest on the defendant at his trial. Ask the jury to deliberate and decide whether to test the vest themselves with a .22 pistol. The Foreman can be chosen to aim the gun at the central portion of the vest and the dude’s chest and pull the trigger. If the defendant is wounded and dies it is just punishment. If he survives then he goes free. The jury gets lunch at Poncho Villas Saloon.
    Dead guys family can sue the vest manufacturer and the store which sold the vest.

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