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Parents' YouTube Prank Turned Fatal

Photograph by Twenty20

On Monday, 22-year-old Pedro Ruiz III and 19-year-old Monalisa Perez set up two cameras and prepped for a dangerous stunt they thought would be their breakthrough video.

When filming, the dad held a book to his chest while the mom stood a foot away and fired a gold Desert Eagle .50 caliber pistol. Ruiz had tested it once before with a different book, but this time, the bullet didn't stop. It pierced Ruiz in the chest and he was declared dead at the house.

According to CNN, the stay-at-home mom said her boyfriend had been talking about it for a while and he finally convinced her to try the stunt after he tested it on the first book.

"Me and Pedro are probably going to shoot one of the most dangerous videos ever HIS idea not MINE," Perez tweeted the day of the stunt.

"They were in love. They loved each other. It was just a prank gone wrong. It shouldn't (have) happened like this. It shouldn't have happened at all," Ruiz's aunt, Claudia Ruiz, told Valley News Live. "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?' [He said,] 'Because, we want more viewers.' I don't know why they thought the book was supposed to stop the bullet."

The Minnesota couple has a 3-year-old daughter and Perez is seven months pregnant with their second kid. They started their YouTube channel, La MonaLisa, in March and vlogged about their day-to-day lives, and the ups and downs of "a young couple who happen to be teen parents." Up until Monday, their pranks were relatively minor, including Perez hiding hot peppers in an egg salad sandwich for Ruiz, Ruiz feigning paralysis at the store and both parents giving each other dirty dare challenges.

Their latest video, posted on Monday, started off with Perez venting about their fight, but things seemed brighter when they later went to the county fair, where Ruiz tried a few stunts.

"Funny how everyone knows you two now," Perez said in the video. "Imagine when we have 300,000 subscribers."

Other dangerous social media pranks have made headlines recently. In May, a YouTube couple lost custody of their kids after subjecting them to abusive pranks, and a few weeks ago, a man was sentenced for dangling a baby out of a window for Facebook likes.

After the prank went wrong on Monday, Perez called 911 at 6:30 p.m. and was charged of reckless discharge of a gun. The charge has now been upgraded to second-degree manslaughter. On Wednesday, the mom was released on a bail of $7,000 and was ordered to wear a GPS monitor and to stay away from firearms. She will be back in court on July 5 and can face up to 10 years in jail if convicted.

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