It was a high price to pay for celebrity: in Minnesota, Pedro Ruiz died after being shot by his pregnant girlfriend in a stunt designed to increase their YouTube following.
Monalisa Perez fired the bullet at her boyfriend from just 30 cm away as he held a hardback encyclopaedia to his chest, a measure the couple seem to have believed would save his life. County Attorney James Brue said that the weapon she used was a .50-calibre Desert Eagle handgun.
There were nearly 30 witnesses to the shooting, as neighbours and the couple’s three-year-old child had gathered to watch.
Earlier that day, Perez, who is in custody facing charges of second-degree manslaughter, had expressed some reluctance to pull the trigger.
Me and Pedro are probably going to shoot one of the most dangerous videos ever?? HIS idea not MINE?— Monalisa Perez (@MonalisaPerez5) June 26, 2017
The victim’s aunt told WDAY-TV that her nephew had dreamed up the stunt because he wanted to be famous. She said: “they were in love, they loved each other. It was just a prank gone wrong.”
In a brutal ironic twist, the couple’s YouTube channel has experienced a surge of hits following the death of Ruiz: