In an age where anyone has the potential to gain fame and fortune by becoming a YouTube star, the quest for more views can lead to creators performing increasingly dangerous stunts. On Monday, one such prank led to tragedy when a 19-year-old Minnesota woman fatally shot her 22-yer-old boyfriend while recording a video.
Monalisa Perez, who is 25 weeks pregnant, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Pedro Ruiz III, an offense that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine. Court documents state she shot him with one of the world’s most powerful pistols – a Desert Eagle .50 caliber handgun – outside their home as the couple’s three-year-old child and 30 onlookers watched.
Ruiz had been holding a hardcover encyclopedia in front his body to try and stop the bullet, which was fired from about a foot away. It traveled straight through the book and into his chest. A GoPro and another camera that recorded the incident were taken as evidence.
Perez was reluctant to perform the feat, but said her boyfriend had been trying to convince her to video the stunt “for a while.” Ruiz had been practicing shooting books and showed one to Perez that a bullet didn’t manage to penetrate – a way of convincing her it was safe.
Me and Pedro are probably going to shoot one of the most dangerous videos ever?? HIS idea not MINE?— Monalisa Perez (@MonalisaPerez5) June 26, 2017
Ruiz’s aunt, Claudia Ruiz, told WDAY-TV that her nephew told her he wanted to do the stunt “because we want more viewers, we want to get famous."
"He had told me about that idea and I said, 'Don't do it. Don't do it. Why are you going to use a gun? Why?'" she said. "They were in love, they loved each other," she said. "It was just a prank gone wrong. It shouldn’t have happened like this. It shouldn’t have happened at all."
The pair had been making videos on their YouTube channel La MonaLisa, which shows “the real life of a young couple who happen to be teen parents,” since May. The latest video, which was uploaded on the day of the shooting, is called “Doing scary stunts at the fair.”