On Monday, June 26, 2017, 19-year-old Monalisa Perez dialed 911 after shooting her boyfriend in the chest in a prank gone awry. Perez’s boyfriend, Pedro Ruiz III, held a hardcover encyclopedia to his chest and asked Perez to shoot him. Perez, who says that Ruiz had been asking to do the prank for a while, agreed and shot at the book with a .50-caliber Desert Eagle handgun from approximately a foot away. Ruiz died of a single gunshot wound to the chest. The couple’s 3-year-old daughter had been in the room as this was happening.
Perez says that the prank that ultimately took her boyfriend’s life was intended to be a video for the couple’s YouTube channel. The couple enjoyed playing outrageous pranks and before filming, Perez posted to her Twitter, “Me and Pedro are probably going to shoot one of the most dangerous videos ever HIS idea not MINE.”
According to Perez, Ruiz believed that the bullet would not fully penetrate the book. Perez, who is currently pregnant with the couple’s second child, was convinced that the prank would be safe after Ruiz showed her a similar book that he had shot at where the bullet had not fully passed through the other side. It was a mistake that would ultimately cost Ruiz his life and have Perez in legal hot water.
Perez has now been charged with second-degree manslaughter in connection with Ruiz’s death. She faces up to 10 years in prison and more than $20,000 in fines if convicted. Perez is currently out on bail on grounds that she notifies her attorney on her whereabouts, wears a GPS monitor at all times and is not allowed to possess handguns.