Hours before a Minnesota woman shot and killed her boyfriend with a .50 caliber Desert Eagle, she posted to her Twitter account, “Me and Pedro are probably going to shoot one of the most dangerous videos ever. HIS idea not MINE.”
Her post turned out to be more true – and tragic – than she probably imagined.
Monalisa Perez was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter in the shooting of her boyfriend, 22-year-old Pedro Ruiz III, Monday night in Halstad, Minnesota.
Perez told investigators that Ruiz convinced her to shoot at a hardcover encyclopedia he was holding to his chest. Ruiz believed the .50 caliber round would not be able to penetrate the book, and he allegedly showed Perez another book he had shot previously with the same gun.
In Monday evening’s attempt, the round went through the book and struck Ruiz in the chest, killing him.
The couple apparently conducted the stunt in an effort to “get famous.”
“He had told me about that idea,” one of Ruiz’s aunts 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?’”
She quoted him as replying, “’Because we want more viewers. We want to get famous.’”
Perez and Ruiz started a vlog-style YouTube channel about a month ago that chronicled the daily activities of Perez, Ruiz, and their young daughter. Perez is also pregnant with their second child.
The couple had more recently begun to post videos of less dangerous “pranks,” including a video in which Ruiz falls a short distance from a tree and one in which Perez feeds him a doughnut covered in baby powder rather than powdered sugar.
But Ruiz wanted to up the ante. He had been “trying to get [Perez]” to fire the gun “for a while,” according to court documents.
“We called him our little daredevil,” Lisa Primeau, another of Ruiz’s aunts, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Primeau added Ruiz was always, “putting a dangerous twist on everything he did.” His antics included “jumping into the swimming pool from the top of the house, no hesitation. He was a crazy driver with go-carts.”
Ruiz “had plenty of guns. He liked guns,” she said.
Primeau and others related to Ruiz “are all supporting Mona. It’s a tragic incident. 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.”
The Norman County sheriff’s office has video of the incident, but Sheriff Jeremy Thornton told the New York Times that he will not release it.