Last moments before a YouTube stunt went fatally wrong

New video footage and transcripts of the moments leading up to a fatal YouTube stunt last summer show Pedro Ruiz talking about the possibility that he may die, while his fearful girlfriend nearly refuses to participate in a daredevil experiment that called for her to shoot a gun at Ruiz while he held a book up to his chest.

“Babe, I’m not doing this. I can’t,” MonaLisa Perez told her longtime partner and father of their three-year-old daughter and unborn baby, according to transcripts released by Norman County prosecutors and obtained by Buzzfeed and Fox News.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Perez did eventually pull the trigger. Ruiz had reportedly believed a thick encyclopedia held against his chest would stop the bullet from penetrating his body. But the stunt went horribly wrong, as the first shot Perez fired hit Ruiz in the chest, and he was killed.

The videos and transcripts show for the first time how hesitant Perez was to participate in the reckless stunt, before ultimately giving in.

“I can’t do it babe,” she said, according to the transcript. “I’m so scared. (inaudible) my heart is beating out of (inaudible).”

The moment of the fatal shot was also captured, as the couple set up a GoPro camera perched on their car along with a separate camera on a ladder, but the prosecutor’s office declined to release that footage. Ruiz and Perez had previously posted videos of less dangerous stunts and pranks to their shared YouTube channel, and filmed the ill-fated stunt outside of their home in rural Minnesota. The video was intended to launch Ruiz’s solo YouTube channel, which he planned to call “Damitboy.”

Just before the fatal shot, Ruiz speaks to the camera about the possibility that it could go wrong.

“So if I’m going to die, I’m pretty much ready to go to heaven right now. 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. Let’s do it.”


According to a Fox 9 News report, Perez had never before fired a gun.

“Babe, if I kill you what’s going to happen to my life,” Perez reportedly said to Ruiz in the footage. “Like no, this isn’t ok. I don’t want to be responsible.”

“You won’t,” Ruiz told her. “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.”

Ruiz had drawn a bullseye on the book. Images shared by the Norman County prosecutor’s office show that Perez hit the bullseye nearly exactly on target. But the bullet went through the book.

Perez, who has since given birth to her second child with Ruiz, pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to 180 days in jail. She was ordered to serve the first 90 of her sentence in alternating 10-day increments in jail and in home confinement, and the the last 90 days in house arrest.


[Feature image: Pedro Ruiz and MonaLisa Perez/Fox 9 News video screenshot]