CRIME
06/29/2017 10:07 am ET

YouTuber Charged After Boyfriend Dies In Apparent Viral Video Stunt Gone Wrong

Authorities allege Monalisa Perez accidentally shot Pedro Ruiz III while they were trying to make a viral clip.

A pregnant YouTuber from Minnesota has been charged with second-degree manslaughter after a video stunt went tragically wrong, authorities say.

Norman County Sheriff’s Office allege in a criminal complaint that Monalisa Perez, 19, fatally shot her 22-year-old boyfriend Pedro Ruiz III in an accident outside their Halstad home around 6.30 p.m. Monday.

The couple were reportedly trying to make a viral clip in which Perez fired a Desert Eagle .50 caliber pistol from around a foot away at a thick, hardback encyclopedia that Ruiz held to his chest.

Perez reported that Ruiz “believed that the book would stop the bullet,” according to the criminal complaint.

Ruiz had tested the trick on other books, but the projectile’s force proved too powerful for the thick book and it pierced straight through the weighty tome, NBC reports.  

Ruiz died at the scene from a single gunshot wound as the couple’s 3-year-old daughter reportedly looked on.

Perez, who is 7-months pregnant with the couple’s second child, regularly posted videos of the pair performing stunts and pulling pranks on each other to her YouTube channel “La MonaLisa.”

She preceded the recording of the fatal stunt with this tweet:

Ruiz’s aunt, Claudia Ruiz, told Valley News Live that her nephew’s death was the result of a “prank gone wrong.”

They were in love, they loved each other. It shouldn’t have happened like this. It shouldn’t have happened at all,” she said.

Norman County Sheriff’s Office says in its criminal complaint that it has seized two cameras containing footage that Perez told them had recorded the incident.

Law enforcement officials initially arrested Perez on suspicion of reckless discharge of a gun. On Wednesday, she appeared at Norman County District Court via video link from jail in Crookston. Her charge was upgraded to second-degree manslaughter. 

If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Perez posted $7,000 cash bail on condition she does not possess a firearm. Her next court appearance is scheduled for July 5.

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