On Wednesday, 19-year-old Monalisa Perez shot her boyfriend, 22-year-old Pedro Ruiz III, in the chest from a foot away with only an encyclopedia covering his body, killing him. The couple were aspiring YouTube stars based in Minnesota who believed that footage from the “stunt” would attract more viewers.
Hours before Perez called the police for help, she tweeted that Ruiz had convinced her to take part in a video that would be “one of the most dangerous” ever done, saying it was his idea, not hers.
According to the Star Tribune, Ruiz had supposedly been pushing for the video, showing Perez other books he’d shot that weren’t penetrated by a bullet. The couple used a a .50-caliber Desert Eagle pistol, which NBC News reports is considered one of the most powerful pistols in the world.
Perez and Ruiz have a 3-year-old together, and Perez is expecting another child. Their YouTube channel description reads, “Our Vlogs will show you the real life of a young couple who happen to be teen parents. From highs to lows. Achievements to struggles. Join the fun, Follow our journey!”
The couple’s child was supposedly present during the video-taping as was Ruiz’s aunt, Lisa Primeau, who says she tried to talk him out of doing the stunt.
“He had told me about that idea,” Primeau told WDAY-TV in Fargo, “and I said, ‘Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Why are you going to use a gun? Why?’”
NBC News reports that Perez was charged with second-degree manslaughter, and could face 10 years in prison and/or a fine of $20,000. Primeau does not seem to blame Perez for Ruiz’s death, saying he had been working for the railway to support his family, and his extended relations are stepping in to help her.
“It’s a tragic incident,” said Primeau. “What she did, she has to live with that. It’s the worst punishment she can get. She is pregnant with their second kid. It’s just heartbreaking.”