NORMAN COUNTY, MINNESOTA — The life of a young couple with dreams of family and fame morphed into a nightmare, with a speeding bullet.
Monalisa Perez, 19 and Pedro Ruiz III, 22, began a YouTube channel in March, and believed a reality show about their lives would be their ticket to a lifetime of money, recognition, and partying. Parents of a 3-year-old with another baby on the way, their videos consisted of Monalisa turning the camera on herself to share the details of their day-to-day life. Meanwhile, Pedro, a long-time amateur daredevil according to his family and friends, would attempt different crazy stunts on camera to really grab eyeballs.
On June 26, Pedro convinced Monalisa to shoot him from point-blank range, an encyclopedia separating him from the gun. Hours before they planned to pull it off, she teased the stunt on Twitter, saying they were “probably going to shoot the most dangerous video ever. HIS idea not MINE.”
Later, aiming a .50-caliber Desert Eagle pistol at her boyfriend’s chest with their daughter watching, Monalisa pulled the trigger, and with that, their future went up in smoke. Pedro was pronounced dead at the scene.
Arrested on charges of second-degree manslaughter, Monalisa may face up to 10 years behind bars. Pedro’s family is standing by her, his aunt calling it a tragic and heartbreaking incident. His aunt claims Pedro told her of his plan the day before, and when she asked him why, he reportedly told her “Because we want more viewers. We want to get famous.”