HALSTAD, Minn. (KMSP) - In what family members describe as a YouTube stunt gone wrong, a 22-year-old man from Halstad, Minnesota is dead and his pregnant girlfriend is charged with manslaughter.
Around 6:30 p.m. Monday night, Norman County sheriff’s deputies responded to the 500 block of U.S. Highway 75 on a report of a shooting. Life-saving efforts were made and a medical helicopter was called, but 22-year-old Pedro Ruiz was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ruiz’s girlfriend, 19-year-old Monalisa Perez, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. According to the criminal complaint, Perez said Ruiz wanted to make a YouTube video of her shooting into a book held to his chest, and he believed the book would stop the bullet. Ruiz convinced Perez to participate in the stunt by showing her a different book he had shot, and the bullet did not go all the way through.
Perez told investigators she fired a 50 caliber handgun from about one foot away while Ruiz held the book to his chest. The book did not stop the bullet, and Ruiz was killed by a single gunshot wound to his chest.
Ruiz’s aunt told Valley News Live that the couple had been trying to get famous on YouTube, and their pranks were escalating. Other pranks the couple posted to YouTube included sneaking a hot pepper into a sandwich and putting baby powder on a doughnut.
"He had told me about an idea. I said, 'don't do it, don't do it,'” Claudia Ruiz said. “'Why are you going to use a gun? Why?'”
Perez told investigators the shooting was captured on video. She pointed out two GoPro cameras that had been set up -- one on the back of a car and one on a ladder. Deputies seized the cameras as evidence.
Perez made an initial appearance in Norman County District Court via interactive TV on Wednesday afternoon. She was released from jail, with bail set at $7,000, with conditions. Perez will have to wear a GPS monitor and have no access to firearms during her release. Her next court date is scheduled for July 5.
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