Videos, transcripts reveal moments before fatal YouTube stunt shooting
ADA, Minn. (KMSP) - “Babe, if I kill you what’s gonna happen to my life. Like, no, this isn’t okay.”
Those were the words of 20-year-old Monalisa Perez moments before she pulled the trigger of a .50 caliber handgun in what was supposed to be a death-cheating stunt for her boyfriend’s new YouTube channel. Pedro Ruiz, 22, was holding an encyclopedia to his chest which was supposed to stop the bullet. According to court documents, he convinced his girlfriend, pregnant with their second child, to do the prank by showing her a different book he shot where the bullet didn't go all the way through.
The book did not stop the bullet and Ruiz died from a gunshot to the chest.
"We were doing a YouTube video and 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," Perez told a 911 dispatcher, calling from their property on Highway 75 in Halstad, Minnesota.
Prosecutors in Norman County have now released a series of videos shot by the couple before the fatal shooting, as well as a transcript of the video that recorded the moments immediately leading up to the shooting. That final video was not released to the public as Norman County Attorney James Brue concluded it is “clearly offensive to common sensibilities.” The transcript reveals the hesitation of Perez to participate in the stunt.
“I can’t do it, babe,” she said. “I’m so scared. (inaudible) my heart is beating out of (inaudible).”
As Ruiz instructs Perez on the distance she should stand away from him to fire that shot, she tells him, “Babe, I’m not doing this. I can’t.”
Perez pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in December 2017. She was sentenced to 180 days in jail, which can be served over a staggered amount of time.
Pedro Ruiz was an aspiring YouTube celebrity. He and Monalisa already had a YouTube presence, with light-hearted pranks like sneaking a hot pepper into a sandwich and putting baby powder on a doughnut. But this new YouTube channel was going to be different.
“What’s up everybody, it’s Dammit Boy. Why did I choose that name? Well, everything I’m going to be showing you guys on my channel, you guys are going to be saying, dammit boy,” Ruiz says in a six-minute raw-take video for his YouTube teaser trailer. “My channel is going to consist of a lot of crazy stuff. Entertainment just for you guys…My thing is crazy. I’m borderline crazy. My whole thing is I love the adrenaline, the pumping, the near-death experiences every time I do something. With this being my first video, I hope I capture all of my audience like that (snaps fingers). I hope that with everything I do, you guys can just be hooked on everything I do and just watch until I fail.”
Ruiz lists off his role models from Nitro Circus and Jackass, adding, “my purpose is to be crazier than them.”
“I may fail, but if I fail I want to die trying. We’re all going to die anyways – it’s just a matter of how and when.”
Another video released by prosecutors shows Ruiz and Perez setting up the stunt, showing off the gold-plated Desert Eagle handgun that will be used and explaining its specifications.
“I really just want to see if a .50 caliber bullet can go through a book," Ruiz said.
Ruiz explains that if all goes as planned, the bullet will hit the book and not him. But Ruiz once again acknowledges the potentially-fatal consequences of the stunt.
“So if I’m going to 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.”