A Minnesota man was shot and killed by his pregnant girlfriend during a YouTube stunt gone wrong.
Pedro Ruiz, 22, and his girlfriend, Monalisa Perez, 19, orchestrated a stunt they planned to record and post on YouTube in the hopes of making a viral video. Ruiz handed Perez a .50 caliber handgun, according to KVLY, and Ruiz grabbed a book. Ruiz instructed Perez to shoot the book, thinking the book would stop the bullet.
The bullet went through the book and struck Ruiz, killing him. Paramedics pronounced Ruiz dead at the scene as soon as they arrived.
"I don't know why they thought the book was supposed to stop the bullet," said Ruiz's aunt, Claudia Ruiz. Claudia recalled a conversation she'd had with Ruiz, in which her nephew discussed the logistics of the prank video. When Claudia asked Ruiz why he had to use a gun, he replied: "because we want more viewers."
Claudia pleaded with Ruiz not to use a real gun, insisting it could cause serious harm. She also cautioned against using just a book to defend himself, but her nephew was adamant that the plan would work. He claimed to have tested it already.
As for his girlfriend, Perez now faces manslaughter charges in relation to the shooting death of her boyfriend, according to WDAY. The couple had a 3-year-old child in addition to the child yet to be born.
"The fact that she has got to live with this for the rest of her life, that alone, is a charge to me," Claudia said, according to KVLY. It was not immediately clear when or if a trial for the manslaughter charges against Perez would begin.
"I was standing behind a tree just watching, and I couldn't take it anymore," a neighbor told KDAY about his experience watching a helicopter land in Ruiz's front yard and medics race out to assist. "I went back home."
The couple had been dating for roughly five years prior to the incident and had made several prank videos together. Most of them were harmless, including one in which Perez offered Ruiz a donut with baby powder. This one, however, was supposed to launch them toward internet fame.
"They were in love," Claudia told KVLY. They loved each other. It was just a prank gone wrong. It shouldn't have happened like this. It shouldn't have happened at all."