In a likely attempt to gain more followers and hoping to reach “YouTube fame,” Pedro Ruiz of Halstad, Minnesota, instructed his girlfriend to shoot a .50 caliber handgun at him as part of a YouTube video stunt. The prank had reportedly been tested by the couple but resulted in Ruiz’s death when it didn’t work as planned.
As reported by Valley News Live, Ruiz, 22, instructed his pregnant girlfriend, Monalisa Perez, to fire the .50 caliber handgun at a book he was holding in front of him. The idea was that the bullet would be stopped by the book, a concept the couple claimed to have tested.
Ruiz’s aunt, Claudia Ruiz, stressed there was no animosity between Ruiz and his girlfriend, insisting, “They were in love. They loved each other.” She went on to say, “It was just a prank gone wrong. It shouldn’t have happened like this. It shouldn’t have happened at all.”
Ruiz and Perez already had one child together, with a second on the way. Ruiz’s aunt stated, “He wanted to have so many babies. I remember him telling me.”
At approximately 6:30 pm on Monday, the Norman County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call of the shooting. According to Ruiz’s aunt, the stunt took place in the yard of Ruiz’s home. Officers closed a section of Highway 75 near the scene, and a medevac helicopter was called in.
Witnesses said they could see people performing chest compression on Ruiz, though he was ultimately declared dead at the scene.
According to local media reports:
Around 6:30 Monday night, the Norman County Sheriff’s Office was called to the 500 block of U.S. Highway 75 in Halstad on a report of a shooting. When police arrived on scene they closed the stretch of Highway 75. A med helicopter was called to the scene and people watched as chest compressions on Ruiz were done. Ruiz was pronounced dead at the scene.
They were trying to achieve YouTube fame. To rack up views, subscribers and notoriety, they tried amping up their pranks.
“He had told me about an idea. I said, don’t do it, don’t do it. Why are you going to use a gun? Why? Because, we want more viewers.” Ruiz’s aunt says he gave a 50 caliber handgun to his girlfriend and insisted she shoot it at a book Pedro was holding, thinking it would stop the bullet. They even said they tested it already.
She went on to say, “I don’t know why they thought the book was supposed to stop the bullet.”
Perez, 20, is currently under arrest on charges of reckless discharge of a firearm. Her first court appearance was today.
She is currently seven months pregnant with Ruiz’s second child, a boy, who will be named Pedro, after his father.