A video revealing the final moments of Pedro Ruiz III’s life has been released to the public.
Last year, 19-year-old Monalisa Perez was charged with second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of her boyfriend, 22-year-old Ruiz. The young couple from Minnesota was filming a YouTube stunt attempting to stop a .50 caliber Desert Eagle with a book. Ruiz held the book in front of his chest before Perez pulled the trigger from less than one foot away. The couple’s child and a crowd of nearly 30 friends, family, and neighbors watched the shooting.
Perez was in complete shock. According to court documents, Ruiz was confident the trick would work as he had practiced on several other books, but Perez had doubts. “I can’t do it babe,” Perez said in the video. “I’m so scared. [inaudible] my heart is beating out of [inaudible].”
“Babe, if I kill you what’s gonna happen to my life. Like no, this isn’t OK,” she said shortly before firing the fatal shot. “I don’t want to be responsible.”
“As long as you hit the book, you’ll be fine. Come on,” Ruiz encouraged her.
“Babe, I’m not doing this – I can’t,” Perez insisted.
“Come on,” Ruiz demanded. Sadly, Perez’s fears came true and she was ultimately held responsible for her lover’s death.
As Ruiz bled out, Perez called 911 and told the operator she had “accidentally shot her boyfriend.” First responders arrived a few minutes later, but were unable to save Ruiz.
Pedro Ruiz: Risk Versus Reward
Ruiz had said he wanted to become famous like the stuntmen from MTV’s Jackass. He was fully aware of the danger, but insisted on completing the video. “The most trustworthy person that I trust in this world is my girlfriend, Monalisa,” Ruiz said in the video. “So if I die, I’m pretty much ready to go to heaven right now”.
The couple was planning to share the stunt on their YouTube channel La MonaLisa, a channel that shows “the real life of a young couple who happen to be teen parents.” The couple has a 3-year-old daughter together and are expecting a second child.
Less than an hour before the shooting Perez tweeted “Me and Pedro are probably going to shoot one of the most dangerous videos ever. HIS idea not MINE.”
Authorities collected at least two cameras that were recording the shooting. Claudia Ruiz, Pedro’s aunt, had tried to stop the couple from performing such a dangerous stunt. “He had told me about that idea,” Claudia told WDAY-TV. “I said, ‘Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Why are you going to use a gun? Why?'” According to Claudia, Pedro told her he was going through with the stunt “because we want more viewers, we want to get famous.”
“They were in love, they loved each other,” Claudia said. “It was just a prank gone wrong.”
On Trial For Manslaughter
In December of last year, Perez pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter. She was sentenced to 180 days in jail served in 30-day installments over the next six years.
While it is disturbing to think anyone would be foolish enough to try and stop one of the most powerful handguns in the world with a book, it is truly frightening that none of the 30 witnesses knew enough about firearms to stop them.