Construction Worker Jose Perez Shot and Killed Coworker While 'Playing' With Gun

Horsing around with a coworker on an active construction site already seems like a fairly terrible idea -- but when the play-fighting includes a real knife and an accidentally loaded gun, the game is downright fatal. Police now say that's exactly what went down at an abandoned lot in El Portal yesterday, where 48-year-old Jose Perez accidentally shot and killed his coworker, Jorge Alvarez.

Around 9:15 in the morning, Alvarez and Perez were horsing around on the lot, an expanse of muddy terrain surrounded by a low concrete wall.

According to a police report, Alvarez started "swinging a knife" at his coworker -- which already sounds like a much more serious round of horse-playing that we usually engage in at the office.

That's when Perez grabbed a handgun, which he apparently believed was not loaded, and shot Alvarez. His coworker was pronounced dead shortly thereafter at Jackson Memorial.

Crazy as the story sounds, police apparently believe Perez to some extent -- he was arrested last night but charged with manslaughter, not homicide.

Perez's had only one minor scrape with the law in the past, according to Riptide's records search: two misdemeanor charges of battery in January 2010, neither of which were prosecuted.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink