Pedro Ruiz, 22 and Monalisa Perez, 19, thought they were just shooting another YouTube video; little did they know that their recklessness would cost Pedro his life. The Minnesota couple, who have a three-year-old daughter and are expecting another child together, wanted to be YouTube famous, and they were willing to do incredibly stupid things to achieve that reports the Star Tribune.
The stunt was crazy from the beginning. Ruiz asked Perez to shoot a gun at a book, which he would hold against his chest. Perez would later tell police that she only agreed to the video after Ruiz showed her a different book that he had shot that stopped the bullet. Before they shot the video, Perez tweeted, “Me and Pedro are probably going to shoot one of the most dangerous videos ever😳😳 HIS idea not MINE🙈.”
So with two cameras running and their daughter sitting nearby, Perez stood a foot away from her boyfriend and shot a .50 caliber Desert Eagle handgun at the book—reportedly a hardcover encyclopedia according to County Attorney James Brue—that he held directly against his chest. Outdoor goods retailer Cabela’s describes the Desert Eagle as “one of the world’s most powerful semiautomatic handguns,” so predictably—and tragically—the book didn’t stop the bullet, and it entered Ruiz’s chest.
Perez immediately called 911, but police were not able to help Ruiz, and he died at the scene. The pregnant teenager is being charged with second-degree manslaughter and remains in a regional jail in Crookston, MN, in lieu of $7,000 cash bail.
Ruiz had apparently been talking about the prank for awhile. His aunt, Claudia Ruiz said, “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?’” He simply responded that they wanted to be famous.
Another aunt, Lisa Primeau, who raised Ruiz after his mother died when he was young and living with his father didn’t work out, says he had always been reckless.
“We called him our little daredevil,” says Primeau. He was always “putting a dangerous twist on everything he did,” such as “jumping into the swimming pool from the top of the house, no hesitation.” And she added, “[He] had plenty of guns. He liked guns.”
His aunts also share that Ruiz, who worked for BNSF Railway and was studying to be a foreman, was thrilled about his new baby, a boy due in September who will be named Pedro in memory of his father. “He wanted to have so many babies. I remember him telling me,” says Claudia Ruiz.
“I wish they wouldn’t have done it. I wish he would’ve just done another prank. He was so young. He had so much going for himself,” she adds. “They were in love. It was just a prank gone wrong. It shouldn’t have happened like this. It shouldn’t have happened at all.”
This tragic story serves as a reminder of the dangers of doing stunts for hits. It also points out the need for better firearms education. A simple google search would have shown the couple that a book—even a thick encyclopedia—couldn’t stop a bullet from a .50 caliber Desert Eagle.
Please keep this family in your prayers. Monalisa Perez, her children, and Ruiz’s family all have to deal with the fallout of this recklessness for the rest of their lives.