A 19-year-old woman in Minnesota has been charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting her boyfriend as the couple attempted to record a YouTube stunt, authorities said.
Monalisa Perez was arrested on Monday night after she fatally shot her 22-year-old boyfriend, Pedro Ruiz, while the couple were recording a YouTube stunt for her vlog, according to a criminal complaint provided to BuzzFeed News.
On Wednesday, Perez was charged with second-degree manslaughter — a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, a fine of $20,000, or both.
She was released after paying a cash bond of $7,000 on the conditions that she could not possess firearms, and that she had to be hooked up on a GPS monitor prior to her release.
Perez called 911 on Monday evening to report that she accidentally shot Ruiz in the chest while they were making a YouTube video at the couple's house in Norman County.
Authorities found Ruiz with a single gunshot wound to his chest and attempted to save his life, but he died at the scene, the complaint said.
Perez, who is pregnant, told police that Ruiz wanted to make a YouTube video of her shooting a book while he was holding it, as he believed that the book would stop the bullet, according to the criminal complaint.
Perez tweeted on Monday that the pair were planning to shoot a dangerous video. "HIS idea not MINE," she wrote.
Perez started a YouTube channel in March which aimed to show "the real life of a young couple who happen to be teen parents."
Perez had uploaded several YouTube videos featuring her and Ruiz, many of which involved doing "pranks," "stunts," and "challenges."
Some of the videos also featured their three-year-old daughter.
The couple's most recent video, which was uploaded on Monday — the day Ruiz died — was titled "Doing scary stunts at the fair."
Perez told authorities that Ruiz had been trying to convince her "for a while" to shoot the book while he held it for a YouTube video.
Ruiz had set up a GoPro camera and another camera on a ladder nearby to record the stunt, according to the complaint. The two cameras — which recorded the shooting — have been secured as evidence for the investigation.
Perez told authorities that Ruiz eventually "convinced" her to shoot the book he was holding.
She said he had showed her a different book which the bullet did not go through.
Perez told police that she shot from a foot away while Ruiz held the book to his chest.
She used a .50-caliber Desert Eagle firearm which authorities recovered from the grass near the house.
Ruiz's aunt, Claudia Ruiz, told Valley News Live/KVLY that Ruiz had told her he wanted to do the stunt "because we want more viewers, we want to get famous."
"He had told me about that idea and I said, 'Don't do it. Don't do it. Why are you going to use a gun? Why?'" Claudia Ruiz told the TV station.
"They were in love, they loved each other," she said. "It was just a prank gone wrong. It shouldn’t have happened like this. It shouldn’t have happened at all."
"I’m just happy that Pedro is home now so I have him to look forward to every night," Perez said in a YouTube video she recorded last week.
In the video, Perez said she was 25 weeks pregnant and that it was a "blessing" to have Ruiz home. She said she was "excited" that he was home for the birth of their baby boy, due in September.
She said she would need his help looking after the newborn baby and the toddler. They had decided to name their baby boy Pedro, after Ruiz, she said in the video.
"I'm a little nervous for things to change, but I think it's normal to be nervous," she told the camera.
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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