Wannabe YouTube star jailed for shooting boyfriend dead in botched prank
Posted On July 26, 2020
A wannabe YouTube star who shot her boyfriend dead in a botched prank they hoped would make them famous has been jailed for six months.
Monalisa Perez, 20, pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter for the fatal shooting of boyfriend Pedro Ruiz at their Minnesota home in June last year.
The 22-year-old victim held a 1.5-inch (3.8cm) hardcover encyclopedia in front of his chest for the prank, wrongly believing it would shield him from the bullet, but was pronounced dead at the scene after being fatally wounded.
Ms Perez, who was pregnant with the couple’s second child at the time, was standing a foot away when she fired a .50-caliber Desert Eagle, one of the world’s most powerful semi-automatic handguns, at her partner.
The couple’s three-year-old child was among the 30 onlookers who watched the stunt, which was captured by two cameras, unfold.
Prosecutors said the mother-of-two was guilty of “culpable negligence that led to the tragic and completely avoidable death”, local media reported.
Norman County Attorney James Brue added the stunt was “dreamed up, planned and executed” by Mr Ruiz, while the defendant “wrongfully and tragically relied on his assurances that the stunt was safe”.
Around half an hour before the stunt, the mother-of-two tweeted they were “going to shoot one of the most dangerous videos ever”, adding: “HIS idea not mine.”
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
Later in a desperate 911 call, a distraught Ms Perez pleaded with emergency services to “hurry up”, telling the operator: “It’s all on recording.”
“We were doing a YouTube video, and it went wrong. Please hurry up … My God, hurry up, please!” she pleaded.
“Oh, my God, he’s dead! He looks like he’s dying, ma’am. He’s all blue. Please hurry up, ma’am … He’s dying. He’s dying!”
In an apparent reference to her prior misgivings about the dangerous prank, she continued: “Oh, my God, I knew …”
Mr Ruiz, a railway engineer, had been planning the stunt “for a while” and had shot the same book previously when the bullet did not go all the way through.
The couple dreamed of becoming social media stars and began vlogging in March 2017 with the page capturing their everyday lives and light-hearted pranks.
In a video posted on the day of the shooting, the couple discussed becoming famous and how recognisable they would be if they got 300,000 subscribers.
“The bigger we get, I’ll be throwing parties. Why not?” Ruiz says.
His aunt, Claudia Ruia, said the tragedy was “a prank gone wrong” and revealed she had attempted to discourage her nephew.
“He had told me about an idea. I said, ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it. Why are you going to use a gun? Why?’” she told local TV station KVLY at the time.
His response was: “We want more viewers.”
Sheriff Jeremy Thornton of Norman County said: “I really have no idea what they were thinking.
“I just don’t understand the younger generation on trying to get their 15 minutes of fame.”
Ms Perez will serve her prison time in 10-day increments over three years and will serve the final three months of her sentence at home as part of her plea agreement.
She must also remain on supervised probation for ten years, is banned from owning firearms and cannot profit financially from the video.
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