Here Are The Last Moments Before A YouTube Stunt Went Fatally Wrong
Videos released by the prosecutor capture the final moments before Monalisa Perez fatally shot her boyfriend, Pedro Ruiz, in the chest during a YouTube stunt gone wrong.
"Babe, I'm not doing this. I can't," Monalisa Perez told her boyfriend of six years, Pedro Ruiz, outside their home in Halstad, Minnesota, last June.
Perez, then 19 and pregnant with the couple's second child, was pointing a loaded .50-caliber Desert Eagle handgun at Ruiz who was holding an encyclopedia in front of his chest.
A GoPro camera on the couple's car and another camera on a ladder were recording what was supposed to be Ruiz's first video stunt for the YouTube channel he had named "Damitboy."
"The point of the video is, I just really want to see if a .50-caliber bullet can go through a book," Ruiz had said earlier.
Now, Perez, who had previously refused to go along with the dangerous stunt, was getting cold feet again.
"Come on," Ruiz said, urging his girlfriend to pull the trigger.
"Babe, if I kill you what's going to happen to my life," Perez said. "Like no, this isn't ok. I don't want to be responsible."
"You won't," Ruiz said. "As long as you hit the book. As long as you hit the book, you'll be fine. Come on, the battery's gonna die on it. Come closer."
Perez told him to "go back more," but Ruiz refused, urging the teen to shoot the gun. "Come on. Right there babe."
Perez pulled the trigger.
"Stop. Babe, stop. Babe," Ruiz said, the last words recorded his first video.
Authorities found Ruiz with a gunshot wound to his chest. He died at the scene.
On Friday, Norman County Attorney James Brue released multiple videos, photos, and transcripts to media organizations, including BuzzFeed News, that captured the chilling moments before and after Perez fatally shot her boyfriend during their ill-fated attempt to go viral.
In one video recorded on the day of his death, Ruiz ominously predicted the outcome of the stunt he had conceived for his YouTube channel.
"The ultimate test is to see if this 50-caliber bullet will go through a book," Ruiz was recorded saying. "I'm going to stand behind it and Monalisa is going to shoot. I hope she hits the book and not me."
He called his girlfriend the "most trustworthy person in the world."
"So if I'm gonna die, I'm pretty much ready to go to heaven right now," Ruiz said, looking into the camera. "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."
The bullet that Ruiz had described as a "cannon" went through the encyclopedia he was holding and into his chest.
In a 911 call after the shooting, a hysterical Perez told the operator, "We were doing a YouTube stunt and it went wrong."
"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 the operator. "Oh my god, he's going to die."
Perez, who had been dating Ruiz since she was 14 or 15 years old, had her own YouTube vlog that showed "the real life of a young couple who happen to be teen parents."
Many of the videos featured the couple doing "pranks," "stunts," and "challenges," and some videos featured their 3-year-old daughter.
But Ruiz wanted his own YouTube channel where he said he could do "all the crazy stuff Pedro does."
"I'm borderline crazy," Ruiz said in a video recorded on the day of the fatal stunt. "I just love the adrenaline ... the near-death experiences."
"I hope I capture all my audience like that," Ruiz said, snapping his finger. "I hope with everything I do you guys can just be hooked, and watch until I fail."
Ruiz had even told one of his high school friends that if the stunt did not go as planned, he would "go out with a bang," the friend later told authorities.
In one of the videos recorded on the day he died, Ruiz said that he was unfazed when his friends thought he was "crazy" and "stupid."
"Every week I'm going to be bringing you guys new videos, crazy videos," Ruiz told his imaginary audience. "I don't have much money. But it takes money to do the crazy stuff I want to do. I hope with doing this YouTube, I can build a loyal audience that loves to see crazy stuff."
Two weeks before the incident, the couple had told Perez's parents that they were planning to make money by creating YouTube videos. Ruiz told them that he would start making money on the videos once he reached 10,000 views or followers.
In an interview with authorities after the shooting, Perez said she had repeatedly refused Ruiz's requests to carry out the book stunt for more than a month.
"And today, I finally just said yes. I gave in," Perez told an officer. She said that Ruiz had practiced the stunt using another book and the bullet hadn't gone through it.
She said that Ruiz was standing so close to her that she could touch him.
She said that after she pulled the trigger, Ruiz "like flew back and he looked down and he said, 'Oh shit,' and then right away I went to him, I was like, 'Babe, oh my God,' and I ran inside and called 911."
"I didn't mean to hurt him, he was my everything," Perez said, breaking down during the interview. "It wasn't supposed to happen like this."
In a video filmed before the stunt, Ruiz looked at the camera and said he wanted to be "crazier" than some of his role models, such as the stunt performers on Jackass.
"But if fail," he said, "I wanna die trying."