HALSTAD, Minnesota — The price of fame is high indeed, sometimes.
A Minnesota man attempting to become famous on YouTube for his increasingly outlandish stunts died tragically when his girlfriend shot him in the chest in a video prank gone wrong.
Police and relatives say 22-year-old Pedro Ruiz had handed his girlfriend, Monalisa Perez, 19, a handgun and asked her to shoot a book he held up against his chest under the mistaken belief it would stop the bullet.
The couple had set up multiple cameras to film the stunt on Monday night, KMSP-TV reported. Ruiz later died from a single gunshot wound to the chest.
Perez — who has one child with Perez and is seven-months pregnant with their second — has now been charged with manslaughter. She was released on $7,000 bail.
Ruiz’s aunt, Claudia Ruiz, told Valley News Live that the whole thing had been conceived as a way to build a bigger following on YouTube.
The couple had already built an audience around stunts such as slipping a hot pepper into someone’s sandwich and sprinkling baby powder on a donut and were trying to up their game.
“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.” Claudia Ruiz said. “I don’t know why they thought the book was supposed to stop the bullet.”
Perez told authorities that the stunt was Ruiz’s idea and he had talked her into it by showing her a book he had practiced on which the bullet did not fully penetrate. In the fatal episode, Ruiz held up a hardback encyclopedia and Perez allegedly used a .50 caliber Desert Eagle pistol.