Note: we are republishing this story in light of recent reports that show firearms have become the leading cause of death for American kids. More on this here: https://www.axios.com/2022/05/26/gun-deaths-children-america
"The point of the video is, I just really want to see if a .50-caliber bullet can go through a book," Pedro Ruiz said in a video recording a stunt that was supposed to catapult him into a viral sensation.
19-year-old Monalisa Perez, pregnant with their second child, told Ruiz: "Babe, I'm not doing this. I can't."
In Perez’s hand was a loaded .50-caliber Desert Eagle handgun, which was pointed at the encyclopedia Ruiz was holding in front of his chest.
"Come on," Ruiz urged his girlfriend to pull the trigger.
"Babe, if I kill you what's going to happen to my life," she responded. "Like no, this isn't ok. I don't want to be responsible."
"You won't. As long as you hit the book. As long as you hit the book, you'll be fine. Come on, the battery's gonna die on it. Come closer," Ruiz assured her.
"Come on. Right there babe," he said as Perez tried to get him to move further away.
Perez finally pulled the trigger.
"Stop. Babe, stop. Babe," were Ruiz’s last words.
He died at the scene, where authorities found him with a gunshot wound to his chest.
Days after the incident, Perez was charged with second-degree manslaughter, and was ultimately sentenced to 180 days in jail.
Norman County Attorney James Brue released multiple videos, photos, and transcripts that captured Ruiz’s last moments, including his comments: "So if I'm gonna die, I'm pretty much ready to go to heaven right now. If I die, I'll be ready for Jesus. He probably won't accept me into the pearly gates because of how stupid this is. But I have confidence that my girlfriend will hit the book and not me."
The 911 call recorded a hysterical Perez telling the operator: "We were doing a YouTube stunt and it went wrong. He wanted to see if I could shoot his gun in a book and it went and shot him and it’s all on recording. Oh my god, he's going to die."
Perez, who began dating Ruiz when she was 14 or 15 years old, had her own YouTube vlog that featured the couple doing "pranks," "stunts," and "challenges," but Ruiz wanted his own channel where he could do "all the crazy stuff Pedro does."
"I'm borderline crazy," the 22-year-old said in a video recorded on the day of his death. "I just love the adrenaline ... the near-death experiences. I hope I capture all my audience like that [he snapped his fingers]. I hope with everything I do you guys can just be hooked, and watch until I fail."
Perez told investigators that she’d refused to participate in the stunt for a month, but decided to finally do so on that fateful day.
One friend told authorities that Ruiz had stated that even if the stunt didn’t go as planned, he’d "go out with a bang."
Sources: BuzzFeed News